A series of explosive devices were detonated in a sleepy West Virginia city Monday after they were left at a federal courthouse, a church and a suspect’s home, according to reports.
The bomb scares in Bluefield, a city with a population of just under 10,000 people, started just after 9:30 a.m. with a full evacuation of the historic Elizabeth Kee Federal Building, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph said
At around 11:40 a.m., police yelled “fire in the hole” ahead of a loud blast as at least one device was detonated from inside the courthouse, said the local paper, which saw a bomb-squad robot leaving the site.
As federal staff started being allowed back in the complex in the early afternoon, a second bomb scare forced the evacuation of the nearby neighboring Westminster Presbyterian Church, police said.
A device was also found there, said police — who then sealed off the area around a nearby house, which was thought to have another device, according to the local paper.
It is believed to be the home of a suspect, the paper said. Police told WVNS that at least one person had been arrested, without identifying them or elaborating on a possible motive.
Homeland Security Federal Protection Service was called in to help the investigation, the local paper said.
“We are in the middle of investigating this,” Bluefield Police Chief Dennis Dillow told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.