Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh administered a 45 minute lockdown today after a suspicious looking suitcase was located on Beacon Street. The lockdown was called by Kevin Brown, security guard for Hillel Academy.
“The police told me there’s a suspicious suitcase and that the bomb squad was coming,” said Brown.
“I told him that I’d put the school on lockdown.”
Brown informed Dan Kraut, CEO of Hillel Academy, that he had placed the school on lockdown and had secured all entrances.
“At Hillel Academy, safety is our number one priority. I’m glad we have a well trained team ready to go if God forbid a real situation were to arise,” said Rabbi Sam Weinberg, principal of Hillel Academy.
Outside of the school, members of the Pittsburgh Police Bomb Squad, a specialty unit within the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, operated a bomb robot. The remote controlled device was seen moving eastward on Beacon Street toward Murray Avenue. After determining that the suitcase was not a bomb, an officer carried the suitcase away.
An unnamed member of the city’s bomb squad explained that the suitcase was first spotted by a civilian, who then dialed 9-1-1. A police officer was sent to inspect the scene. Upon determining the seriousness of the situation, the officer called the bomb squad.
“The officer looks around, if it doesn’t jive,” that’s when the bomb squad is alerted, said the officer, who claimed that the unit receives approximately 300 related phone calls per year.
After 45 minutes, the officers permitted traffic to resume on Beacon Street and Hillel Academy ended its lockdown. Throughout the ordeal, Weinberg maintained that “classes went on normally.”
“It didn’t disrupt learning or waste valuable learning time.”
Adam Reinherz can be reached at email@example.com.