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Police suspect bombs at MTU

Not related to Sept. 11: Official

The Daily Mining Gazette
November 5, 2001

HOUGHTON — Two suspicious devices that might be bombs were discovered early this morning behind two buildings at Michigan Tech University.

Michigan Tech public safety officers reported the discovery of the two devices at 3:35 a.m. at the U. J. Noblet Forestry Building and the U.S. Forest Service Engineering Laboratory located on the southwestern side of campus.

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Officers were making a routine patrol when they discovered the devices.

Houghton County Emergency Measures Coordinator Jack Dueweke described the devices as three five-gallon jugs with wires leading to timers. One device had two jugs. The other had one.

There appears to be no connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, officials said at a news conference this morning.

“We’re fairly confident that this isn’t related to the Sept. 11 attacks or those terrorist organizations,” said MTU News and Information Services Director Dean Woodbeck.

The Michigan State Police bomb squad in Negaunee arrived shortly after 8 a.m. and met with police and emergency personnel. State police sent a remote-control robot with a video camera close to the suspected bombs. The bomb squad remained on the scene as of 11 a.m. this morning

Though there are no official suspects, Dueweke said extremist environmental groups are being considered.

“We’re looking at that possibility,” Dueweke said.

MTU received a grant worth several millions of dollars this spring to begin research on genetically altered aspen trees, students said. Chemistry students said researchers hope to find trees immune to crop dusting and beetle infestation.

Officials have closed the two buildings until further notice. Police are maintaining a 2,000-foot security cordon around the buildings. Dueweke said officials believe that is a safe distance.

US 41, which runs through Tech’s campus, remained open this morning, but several surrounding roads were closed. Houses along Seventh Avenue have been evacuated.

Several commuter parking lots were closed and cars were being diverted to the nearby Student Development Complex to park.

Woodbeck said classes are proceeding as normal this morning with the exception of classes at the forestry building. He said other campus buildings have been searched and nothing has been found.

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