Bomb threat evacuates Etna-Dixmont school

Posted March 11, 2009, at 11:39 p.m.

ETNA, Maine — The Etna-Dixmont School was evacuated around noon Wednesday and Route 143 was closed for one mile in each direction after a bomb threat was reported to school officials, Superintendent Jim Backus said.

“Everybody was very safe through the whole” evacuation, he said. “I was very pleased with the manpower dispatched to the school. There were three deputies, two detectives, a dog and a dog handler.”

The school’s 275 students, along with teachers and staff, were bused to the Carmel Elementary School after the threat was discovered. They were sent home or released after school ended for the day, at around 3 p.m., said Backus.

A search of the building turned up “nothing at all,” he said. “Nothing suspicious.”

School officials “did a wonderful job evacuating the school,” Sgt. Scott Young said just after exiting the pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school.

“Anytime we get threats like these in schools, we take them very seriously,” he said.

Deputy Jim Roy and his bomb-sniffing canine Eric, nicknamed “Eric the Great,” went through the entire building and left the scene just after 2 p.m.

Emergency crews from Etna and Dixmont shut down the road in front of the school for about an hour and then blocked the school’s driveway for a short period before being released from the scene.

Both Backus and Young declined to say how the threat was made, citing the ongoing investigation. Backus did say if a suspect is found, charges would be brought against him or her.

“We will do that … [and] there is a good likelihood that the board may consider expulsion from school,” the superintendent said.

nricker@bangordailynews.net

990-8190

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