ATLANTA – State law enforcement officials issued the “all clear” Tuesday after a pair of bomb threats near the Georgia Capitol resulted in the evacuations of several state office buildings.
State employees in the Judicial Building, home to the attorney general and state Supreme Court, as well as the Health Building were evacuated shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities urged those in the area not to use radios or cellphones to communicate, while police with bomb-sniffing dogs searched the buildings.
The evacuations lasted about two hours.
Scott Young, a facilities manager for the Georgia Technology Authority, was one of the designated fire marshals for his office. He said his colleagues reacted pretty calmly to the strobe lights and announcement of a bomb threat.
“It just means someone out there is trying to scare us,” he said. “That’s all.”
The Judicial Building is at 40 Capitol Square, across the street from the Capitol, while the Health Building is a block away on Trinity Avenue.
Although it’s known as the Health Building, 47 Trinity Avenue actually houses non-health agencies, including the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Building Authority, Georgia Technology Authority and several transportation agencies.
Sirens could be heard in several state buildings, and authorities also evacuated the Coverdell Legislative Office Building at 18 Capitol Square. That building houses offices of most state lawmakers and staff as well as several media outlets, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Dozens of state employees milled outside the Capitol including State Rep. Lynn Riley, R-Johns Creek, who had come to the legislative office building to meet with constituents.
“I was in the LOB and I got word and said ‘I’m coming out with the rest of the folks,’” she said.
Many workers stayed glued to their smartphones, curious about a separate scare at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Most had never experienced a bomb threat on Capitol Hill, but all had participated in fire drills.
Riley said she was impressed with the response.
“The Capitol alert system was phenomenal,” she said. “We’re getting alerts nonstop.”
State authorities have recently created an alert system that notifies state employees of security threats via text, automated phone calls and email.