A suspicious package at the William O. Douglas Federal Building that closed surrounding sections of downtown Yakima streets for nearly three hours Tuesday turned out not to be suspicious at all, authorities said.
Bomb technicians were able to quickly assess that the package containing an electronic device delivered to the federal courthouse at 25 S. Third St. was not a threat, said Horace Ward, operations manager for Yakima Valley Emergency Management.
“Upon closer inspection, the package’s contents were revealed to be an electronic device with some cables and it was determined there was no foul intent with the delivery of the package,” he said in a news release.
No criminal investigations are pending, Ward said.
Officials in the federal courthouse found the package with an X-ray machine at around 10:20 a.m. Tuesday as part of the normal mail screening process, Ward said. Following standard procedures, the courthouse and surrounding buildings were evacuated.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; U.S. Marshal’s Office; Yakima police and fire; the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol responded. The Richland Police Department bomb squad and ordnance disposal specialists from the Yakima Training Center were also on scene to deal with the suspicious package.
The scene attracted passers-by and gawkers in slow-moving cars — two of which were in a fender-bender right by television reporters monitoring the situation.
Just before 1:30 p.m., Ward said the courthouse was safe and authorities began reopening streets.
“YVEM would like to applaud all of our partners for quickly responding and ensuring the safety of everyone in the area,” he said.