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Published: Tuesday, 7/24/2007

Box detonated contained depth measurement device


The box that caused stoppage of trains, boats, and street traffic and evacuation of homes in the area of Norfolk Southern railroad bridge over the Maumee River near downtown Toledo last night contained a depth measurement device, police said.

Authorities yesterday blew up a box found on a Norfolk Southern railroad bridge over the Maumee River near downtown Toledo. The box has to do with the dredging of the Maumee River near the downtown, Sgt. Charles Nearhood, of the Toledo police bomb squad, said.

The box, about 2 feet by 1 foot, was chained to a bridge pier and had wires that dropped about 20 feet into the water, Toledo Police Lt. George Kral said.

After detonating the device and determining it to be harmless, authorities surmised it was a research tool to measure the temperature and depth of the Maumee River. But they didn't know to whom it belonged.

"A blue box chained to a railroad bridge in the middle of the water just didn't look like it was supposed to be there," Lieutenant Kral said.

Before anyone else places any other devices near a railroad bridge, "it would probably be a wise idea to notify the railroad," agreed Scott Wilson, an FBI spokesman.

About 10 people were evacuated from the Starboard Side condominiums for about an hour. The railroad was closed for nearly four hours, delaying at least three trains, while the river was closed to boats for about three hours. Miami Street was closed for about 30 minutes.

Along with Toledo police and the FBI, the Northwest Ohio Bomb Squad and the U.S. Coast Guard went to the scene.

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