Two unattended backpacks Monday morning prompt separate responses from police, bomb squad; both deemed to be safe
NORTHAMPTON — Two unattended backpacks left in different sections of the city drew responses from local police and the state bomb squad Monday morning before being deemed harmless.
A similar incident on Thursday shut down a section of Masonic Street for about an hour after a backpack was spotted near the Verizon building.
About 8:50 a.m. Monday, police responded to a report of a backpack that appeared to be wrapped in a towel or blanket under a fire escape at 3 North Main St. in Florence.
Traffic was blocked on North Maple Street from Main Street to Depot Avenue for about an hour.
The state bomb squad investigated and determined the package contained clothing wrapped in a blanket, according to police.
A second report of an unattended backpack was called in to police about 9:50 a.m., this time for a pack left on a bench in front of the Haymarket Cafe on Main Street.
The state bomb squad, which was already in the city for the earlier call, investigated and gave the all clear after about 20 minutes. The area was not evacuated.
The owner of the second pack was located a short time later, according to police.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.