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Bomb Threat Clears Main Institute Buildings

By Eva Moy
News Editor

A bomb threat resulted in the evacuation of Buildings 3, 5, 7, and part of Building 1 at around 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to Campus Police Lt. James P. Cappucci. No bombs were found after a room-by-room search of these buildings by Campus Police, he said.

People were allowed to return to the buildings about 90 minutes later, at 12:20 p.m., said Robert C. DiIorio, associate director of the MIT News Office.

The threat was made when a female caller tipped off the Registrar's Office at about 10:45 a.m. The caller said, "There are seven bombs that I planted at 77 Massachusetts Ave. I'm not kidding," according to DiIorio. The caller also said she did not want to see anybody get hurt.

A second call with a similar message was received a few minutes later in Building 3, DiIorio said.

The main objective was just to get everybody out of the building, Cappucci said. "We didn't have the luxury of talking to everyone individually, so we got them out by fire alarms, bullhorns, shouting, and knocking on doors," he said.

Initially, only the 77 Massachusetts Ave. entrance was blocked off, but the Campus Police quickly extended the secured area to include all floors of Buildings 3, 5, and 7, Cappucci said.

While these buildings were being evacuated, the fire alarm in Building 4 went off. Physical Plant workers were deployed to the scene and told to handle the alarm as they would any fire. They found no fire, however, and determined that someone had simply pulled the alarm.

Threat interrupted tests

Several tests were interrupted by the bomb threat. Jae H. Roh '93 was taking an Electromagnetism II (8.07) exam in 3-370 at the time. "I thought that [the fire alarm] was really surprising," he said. Because of the evacuation, the class was given 40 minutes to finish the test elsewhere. Students were then expected to turn the tests in to the Undergraduate Physics Office in Building 4.

Sera B. Markoff '93 was also taking the 8.07 exam. "It was just not a good scene," she said, referring to the fact that the exam had to be completed outside. "But there really wasn't anything else that they could have done," she added.

The Advanced System Dynamics and Control (2.151) exam was also interrupted by the evacuation, according to Neal A. Mitra '93. Many students taking the test complained about others working, studying, and talking about the test during the evacuation, he said. Under the circumstances, all they could do was postpone the exam until next week, he said.

Brian Rosenberg '93 contributed to the reporting of this story.