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Bomb threat forces FC Area evacuation

| Friday, Nov. 9, 2001

O'HARA: A phony bomb threat caused the evacuation of Fox Chapel Area High School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, disrupting classes for about two hours.

A handwritten message scrawled on notepaper was found around 9 a.m. that day by a school security guard in a second-floor, girl's bathroom at the high school, said O'Hara Assistant Police Chief James Hicks. It stated a bomb was going to blow up at 11:45.

The person who wrote the note can fface charges of false reports or risking a catastrophe, which are misdemeanor criminal charges, Hicks said.

School Principal Charles Territo called police 10 minutes after the note was found.

Local police responded and called Allegheny County police to use their bomb-sniffing canine, which had to travel from the Pittsburgh International Airport in Findlay Township, Hicks said. Authorities converged on the school by 10:45 a.m. and immediately evacuated the building.

Close to 20 police and private officerss arrived, including officers from O'Hara, Aspinwall, Blawnox, Indiana and Fox Chapel, Allegheny County detectives, seven auxiliary township police officers and private security officers from the Fox Chapel Area School District.

The township's three volunteer fire departments responded along with three ambulance service crews.

Capital Assets, the district's private security firm, brought three specialty canines to sniff for explosives.

Students and employees were sent to the football stadium next to the twwwo-story high school, where they waited for about two hours.

There are no surveillance cameras mounted outside the bathrooms at the high school, said district spokeswoman Bonnie Berzonski.

Hicks said the case was turned over to Allegheny County detectives.. The threatening note was taken to the Allegheny County crime laboratory to test for fingerprints, Hicks said.

It is the first bogus threat in the district in about four years, Berzonski said.

The building wasn't being used as polling Tuesday, as in yearss past, due to a construction project.

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