Durham County

Anthrax? Bomb threat? Why Durham police closed Guess Road

Police Line Do Not Cross
Police Line Do Not Cross

First rumors of anthrax, then a potential bomb, closed Guess Road to traffic Monday for six hours.

The Durham Police Department closed a section of the road shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday between Carver and Peppertree streets. Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael called it a “Hazmat situation.”

The Durham Fire Department also responded to the scene, Michael said.

By mid-afternoon, Maj. Paul Martin of the Durham County Sheriff’s Office cleared up one big fear that was circulating — there was no known anthrax threat. An object that resembled a potential “bomb” was investigated by law enforcement, Martin said.

“It looked like it could be an explosive device, but it wasn’t,” he said.

The situation stemmed from a housing eviction, Martin said, when a person who was evicted placed the object that looked like a bomb in a strategic location.

Michael said, “A man told his landlord he had hazardous chemicals, and the landlord called 911.”

Just before 6 p.m., police spokesman Wil Glenn said police were starting to search a house in the 3500 block of Guess Road. They were delayed while waiting for a warrant to search a car and the house, he said.

The Police Department’s Bio-Chemical Emergency Response Team (B-CERT) and the Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad did not find any anthrax or other chemicals in the car, Glenn said, adding later that police also did not find anything in the house. Hazmat crews were clearing the area and would have Guess Road reopen soon, he said.

Glenn said police initially detained some people for questioning, but it’s not clear if anyone will be arrested or charged. He said the investigation is ongoing.

Herald-Sun staff reporters Virginia Bridges and Tammy Grubb contributed to this article.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks