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ORONO, Maine — A bomb threat that forced the evacuation of a University of Maine building on Thursday morning turned out to be a hoax, according to a UMaine spokesman.
The threat, emailed late Wednesday night to a staff member, led to an emergency alert early Thursday morning and the evacuation of Aubert Hall, UMaine spokesman Ron Lisnet said.
“An anonymous email went to a staff person at 10:56 p.m.,” he said Thursday. “That staff person read it this morning and immediately called university police.”
Campus police, with assistance from Orono police and fire crews, searched the building for anything suspicious and found nothing, Lisnet said shortly after the building was cleared by police at 10:35 a.m.
The hoax email “basically said there was a bomb in Aubert Hall,” the university spokesman said.
The emergency call was made to police about 8:15 a.m. and the campuswide alert was issued around 8:45 a.m.
About 30-50 people were evacuated from Aubert Hall, which is used primarily by the chemistry department, while the search was under way.
A second campuswide emergency alert was issued about 10:45 a.m. to inform students the situation was resolved and they were allowed to return to classes in the building.
“Police are continuing the investigation into the email which was the source of the bomb threat,” Lisnet said.
Making a false public report is one charge the person who sent the email could face, if caught.
This is not the first time UMaine officials have dealt with similar threats. A UMaine dorm was evacuated after a bomb threat in January 2011, and in October campus officials asked Bangor Police Department’s bomb squad to remove from a chemistry lab six sealed pieces of PVC pipe that resembled pipe bombs.