BUCKHANNON — City officials announced Thursday night the Buckhannon parks that closed abruptly Thursday following the discovery of a suspicious device will be open Friday, July 12 following a thorough investigation.
Information coordinator Callie Cronin Sams sent out the following message Thursday night: “All city parks will be open tomorrow, Friday, July 12, following investigations by the Buckhannon Police Department, State Police Bomb Unit and collaborating agencies into the suspicious device reported to be found at City Park,” the release reads.
Police chief Matt Gregory also released a statement saying the West Virginia State Police Bomb Unit inspected the device and determined it was a non-live World War II-era grenade.
“The State Police Bomb unit inspected the device and advised that it was a World War II era grenade, but did not feel that it was live,” Gregory said in the statement. “As a precaution, they did recover the grenade and will be disposing of it per their protocols.”
“We also met with an ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent who did a follow-up investigation,” the statement continued. “As for the device itself, there is no indication of criminal intent at this time. Out of an abundance of caution, the FBI Police responded with a K-9 and they swept through the city parks and cleared each area. The parks have since been reopened.”
The Buckhannon Police Department was also assisted by the fire department, VIPS, Buckhannon Street Department, Upshur E911 Communication Center and Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The City of Buckhannon closed all municipal parks Thursday afternoon after a suspicious device was found at the Buckhannon City Park and reported to police at 2:30 p.m.
An initial visual inspection of the device indicated it could be an explosive device.
“At about 2:30 p.m., a lady came into the police department and said that while at the City Park her dog found ‘a grenade’ and she recovered the device from the dog and was concerned about it,” Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory said in a statement. “The Buckhannon Police Department responded to the scene for investigation and upon visual inspection … just by appearance, it looked real enough (to warrant further precautionary measures).”
Police then closed the park and called in assistance from the state police bomb disposal unit to evaluate the device.
“As a precaution, emergency responders are doing a sweep of the parks to see if there is anything additional,” Gregory said. “We are working with the West Virginia State Police Bomb Disposal Unit, Buckhannon Streets & Parks Department, Buckhannon Fire Department, Upshur County Com Center, and Office of Emergency Management.”
Buckhannon mayor David McCauley was on scene at the city park, along with Gregory, fire chief J.B. Kimble and other city employees. They left the park after putting up yellow caution tape at the entrance.
“We’re immediately closing, until further notice, the City Park, the North Buckhannon Riverfront Park and the Fred Brooks Park,” McCauley told My Buckhannon.