False Anthrax Report Shuts Down Empire During Morning Commute | WGLT

False Anthrax Report Shuts Down Empire During Morning Commute

Dec 6, 2017

UPDATED 10:25 a.m. | Empire Street near Central Illinois Regional Airport was closed during Wednesday’s morning commute after a man told emergency responders he’d been exposed to anthrax—a threat authorities say was not true.

Bloomington Police responded to a vehicle-assist call around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday on Empire near CIRA Drive on the city's east side, said police spokesperson Elias Mendiola. The vehicle was on the side of the road with one man inside, he said.

The driver made statements about having been exposed to anthrax, prompting a full response from the Bloomington Fire Department hazardous materials team, BFD spokesperson Stuart Blade said. Empire Street was closed as a precaution.

“Based on the team’s evaluation, it was determined that the anthrax threat was unfounded and not credible,” Blade said, noting no threat to the public.

The man was taken to a local hospital for unrelated medical complaints, he said. Traffic was blocked in both directions on Empire, between Airport and Towanda Barnes Road, until around 8:45 a.m. The person's vehicle was eventually towed.

“We would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding as we felt the need to shut down both east and westbound lanes of Empire to keep our first responders safe in the working area of the call,” Blade said.

Access to the airport remained available through CIRA West Drive throughout the incident, said CIRA spokesperson Fran Strebing. Flights were not impacted, and the incident was not related to CIRA, she said.

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