Police evacuated buildings in Baltimore‘s Inner Harbor on September 9, 2019 to investigate a suspicious vehicle bearing 1,000 gallons of gasoline, but the mayor tweeted that there was not a “bomb.”
“After several hours of investigating a suspicious vehicle, no bomb was detected. We are currently in the process of conducting precautionary sweeps in an effort to ensure public safety. These sweeps are expected to take several hours,” Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Jackson wrote on Twitter. “All vehicular & pedestrian traffic is being diverted around the 100 block of E Pratt St downtown,” the city’s emergency management office wrote.
Mallory Sofastaii, a journalist with WMAR, wrote on Twitter: “Downtown expected to open soon. Suspicious vehicle had two bins of diesel fuel. Wires were connected to a device that’s used to steal fuel, not an explosive device.”
The abandoned van was loaded with 1,000 gallons of gasoline, according to The Baltimore Sun. Police saw containers of gasoline and security officers smelled gas after the truck entered a parking garage on September 9, WBAL-TV reported.
The mayor added: “We are asking everyone to remain clear of the evacuated area. Those who have a vehicle parked in the evacuated area, we ask that you please find alternative transportation home. We will send an update when the area is cleared and you are able to pick up your vehicle.”
Justin Fenton, who is on leave from the Baltimore Sun to write a book, posed this question on Twitter: “So somebody ditched a truck packed with 1000 gallons of gasoline in a parking garage adjacent to Baltimore’s main downtown thorofare, a couple days before the president is due to arrive. Coincidence?” However, authorities have not identified any link between the president’s visit and the van. They also have not publicly identified its driver. Trump is speaking at a GOP retreat in the city on Thursday. The day before will mark the anniversary of September 11, 2001.
The mayor said the evacuated areas are:
East Baltimore Street to the north
Conway Street to the south
South Charles Street to the west
Commerce Street to the east
Here’s what you need to know:
The Suspicious Vehicle Was Parked at a Building Along Pratt Street
The call first came in at 10:39 AM, according to the Baltimore Fire Department. “#BCFD received the threat of a suspicious vehicle parked at a building along the 100 blk of E. Pratt St. Upon arrival Public Safety officials immediately issued an evacuation order and begin investigating the suspicious vehicle,” a tweet from that agency read.
That address houses the buildings of private company T. Rowe Price, and more than 1,000 of its employees were evacuated, The Sun reported.
The Fire Department later provided this update: “Local and federal law-enforcement were also notified and remain on the scene. All buildings in the surrounding area have been evacuated. As more information becomes available we will provide additional updates.”
There were no reports of injuries.