Bomb Scare Near Work

During the Pecha Kucha intermission, Justin and I ducked out a bit early. We were both headed towards the Jackson Red/Blue stop, and en route I decided to stop in to a nearby Chipotle for some food to take home. I stood in line there for what seemed like an interminable 20 minutes. When I got my food, I walked out the door, rounded the corner… and saw a lot of police cars.

State street, north of Jackson, had been shut down. There were a few police cars stationed along the median and there were CDOT workers blocking foot traffic, re-routing them down Jackson.

CDOT workers blocking cars from continuing down State.

The woman blocking the way along State was consistently flooded with people asking about the Blue and Red lines. At the time, I heard that the Red Line had been shut down. When I asked her if she knew what was going on, she told me: bomb threat.

I remembered that we still had some folks who were inside our workplace. Because we have a lot of clients on both the east and west coasts, we provide live phone support that extend beyond the regular 9-5 work day. To make sure we service folks on the west coast, we’ve got someone manning the phones until 8PM. It was around 7:20, and I wondered if anyone inside our workplace knew what was going on.

I asked the lady blocking traffic if I could go inside our building. The woman asked me Can you call them? And so I did. When I didn’t get anyone after the first few rings… I decided I wanted to go upstairs to check. Once more, I talked with the woman blocking the street traffic and asked if I could go inside.

Where do you work? she asked me, and I motioned to our entrance. It’s right next to the Jimmy John’s, right there, and I pointed. It was a bit unnerving what she did next – she looked me squarely in the eyes and said Hurry.

Walking in, I saw that there was police tape blocking off the sidewalk just past our door. Seeing all this, I had the sense that the area of concern was just down the street, a few buildings away. The impression I had was that close by.

Inside, I spoke with the DePaul security guards manning the front desk. They said that weren’t made aware of the situation, and didn’t know what was going on. Students were still walking in and out of the building, and according to the guards… the building was still running normally.

This was a relief to hear, but given all the police cars and tape just outside the front door… I still felt apprehensive. Seeing other folks calm and nonchalant made me a little more nervous.

Upstairs, I found Mark, Sandra and Renata still at work. As I told them what was going on, everyone was surprised – and nobody knew about all the police outside.

Here’s a view from inside, looking down from the windows by the Developers and Database Team. Shortly after this, everyone packed up and we all made our way out the door.

Eerily quiet along State.

As I was walking west, along Jackson… I got a text message from Sandra.

A half a block later, I realized what she was talking about. Way more police here, as opposed to where we were at.

Ultimately, it turns out the whole scare was a false alarm. It turns out we were pretty far away from the actual “danger” area, but it sure didn’t feel like that walking near State/Jackson. Glad this ended the way it did, but it’s amazing how one little “suspicious package” can shut down so much of the city for so long.

A Lot Of Black Cars, A Lot Of Guys With Guns
Fire Alarm At State And Jackson: Last Ones Out Of The Building

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