published Thursday, December 6th, 2012

UTC evacuates three buildings after fourth bomb threat this semester

For the fourth time this semester, a bomb threat forced the evacuation of several buildings at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Holt Hall, Grote Hall and the EMCS building are evacuated after a bomb threat was called in at 8 a.m.

Emergency services personnel had to respond to a bomb threat at UTC in October, last week, and on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Bomb threats are disruptive and inconvenient for schools and businesses, said Sgt. Al Tallent, head of the Chattanooga Police Department bomb squad and Homeland Security coordinator.

"We treat any bomb threat as if there is a live device, because we do not know what's there," Tallent said. "When one of these goes on, it's nothing we can take care of in five minutes. Our main priority is to protect lives."

Firefighters, emergency personnel, Chattanooga and UTC campus police are called to any location where a threat has been made, and that draws emergency services away from other needs.

"Not only is it disruptive, but you've also got police and firefighters responding to the scene, sometimes with sirens on, and that can increase the risk of an accident," said Bruce Garner, the Chattanooga Fire Department's public information officer.

Though police can prosecute those who call in threats, the best way to stop the problem may be through students, said Chuck Cantrell, associate vice chancellor for communications and marketing.

"We are very aware that students get irritated at this," he said. "The best way to stop this is for the students who know information to turn it in."

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