Boston courthouse reopened after bomb scare forces evacuation

The Globe and Mail

Employees and visitors evacuate the John Joseph Moakely federal courthouse in Boston, April 17, 2013. Investigators believe they have spotted a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing from security video. (BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)

Boston’s federal courthouse was evacuated Wednesday afternoon, but it has since been reopened and staff are being allowed back in.

A man emerged from the building and waved a large green flag, signalling the all clear. Gary Wente, the first circuit executive, confirmed to the media and public still gathered outside that it was, indeed, a bomb scare but that the building was now safe for entry.

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A lawyer who had been in the building said an alarm sounded and those inside were told to leave the courthouse.

“They didn’t say why,” said lawyer Steven Fuller, carrying stacks of paperwork and file folders.

As a helicopter swirled over head and after at least two Homeland Security vans pulled in front of the building, people were seen scurrying out the front door – one woman ran as she pushed a baby stroller.

Police officers told the throngs of media and curious public gathered from around the world to move away from the building and into the parking lot across the street.

People leaving the building were overheard saying a “Code Red Alert” had been issued. Two fire trucks pulled up about 10 minutes after the evacuation, joining a canine unit. A local television station reported a bomb scare just as media were being pushed back 100 yards from the entrance.