PAWTUCKET—With images still fresh from last Monday's Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, local police and fire officials felt the need to investigate a metal tank-like object found discarded on a sidewalk on Roosevelt Avenue late Friday morning.
According to Pawtucket Police Chief Arthur Martins, a passerby called police at about 11 a.m. to report the presence of a suspicious-looking object that was near an electrical utility box on the sidewalk just north of the Fogarty Manor housing complex and across from 249 Roosevelt Ave. (the former Carol Cable building).
However, the Rhode Island State Police Bomb Squad sent its robot down to investigate along with a fully-suited bomb specialist, and determined that the object was simply an old expansion tank of the type used in baseboard heating systems, Martins said.
Martins said police and fire personnel who responded to the scene could not readily identify the metal tank, so the State Fire Marshal's Office was called in to investigate as a precaution. He said there were no wires or any type of detonator devices found — it was just an empty tank.
Police had not evacuated Fogarty Manor or the other surrounding buildings, but just asked people to stay inside and away from windows overlooking Roosevelt Avenue. Despite the request, numerous tenants from Fogarty Manor could be observed surveying the scene from the upper balconies of the high rise.
The portion of Roosevelt Avenue near Fogarty Manor and 249 Roosevelt Ave. was closed to traffic for about an hour, until the item was safely identified.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and Director of Administration Tony Pires had taken the short walk to the site from City Hall, and both spoke of the need to take any concerns about suspicious objects or behavior seriously.
Businessman Louis Yip, who owns the building at 249 Roosevelt Avenue, now called the American Heritage River Center, was outside watching the scene and expressed relief when it was over. Like most everyone else milling around, the events of the past week were still vivid, and Yip echoed the sentiments of many when he agreed it was always “better to be safe than sorry.”
At about the same time at the Pawtucket incident was playing out, a bomb threat was made at Woonsocket High School. A note was discovered in the girls’ bathroom and the school was evacuated.
On Monday the high school was evacuated for a similar threat which was also unfounded.