Bomb threat at Carmel High turns out to be hoax
A telephone threat reporting a bomb about to be detonated with hostages being held at Carmel High School sent police and emergency responders into action late Wednesday afternoon, but the threat turned out to be a hoax.
As many as 50 police, fire and EMS personnel from the state, county and town levels rushed to the sprawling high school campus off Fair Street and conducted a thorough search of the building using bomb sniffing dogs.
The drama unfolded around 4:45 p.m. when a male caller telephoned the Sheriff's Office and reported a bomb. Minutes later a second call was received indicating three intruders were in the school and had taken two female students hostage in a third floor girls' room.
Deputies raced to the scene along with State Police, Carmel and Kent Police and members of the highly trained Putnam Emergency Response Team.
First responders found a handful of school employees inside the building and no students since classes had ended for the day. Groups of students playing sports on an adjoining athletic field were moved to a more distant portion of the property. Searchers found no sign of intruders or any persons being held against their will.
Helicopters hovered overhead as the New York MTA Police Canine Division assisted by the Brewster Police Department's new canine went from classroom to classroom to sweep the building and insure that no explosives were present. Members of the Carmel FD, Carmel Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Putnam Bureau of Emergency Services were also placed into action.
The operation took nearly four hours during which Fair Street in the vicinity of the Carmel Post Office was cordoned off and traffic was diverted.
No one was injured.
School officials communicated with parents of district students via a mass text message to allay any fears raised by the incident.
Smith called the incident a "terrible hoax. Such a false report is a terrorist threat designed to incite fear and cause significant disruption."