Bomb Threat Closes Wal-Mart Saturday
A threat to the New Martinsville Wal-Mart resulted in the evacuation of the store late Saturday morning. Firefighters from four different agencies assisted in the isolation of the area around the store for over two hours while three police forces including a K-9 bomb dog searched the building.
Sgt. Steve Kastigar of the New Martinsville Police Department reported that at 10:51 a.m. on April 10 the department responded to a call from Wal-Mart stating there was a bomb threat made over the phone to the department store. The NMPD arrived on the scene and was assisted by the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department as well as the West Virginia State Police.
New Martinsville volunteer firefighters, assisted by firefighters from Paden City and Sardis, kept the area isolated and limited traffic in and out of the area of the store on South Bridge Street. Also, the Grandview VFD remained on stand-by at their station during the incident while law enforcement officials secured and performed a sweep of the store to assure that there was no real threat.
Fortunately, nothing was found and around 1:30 p.m. that afternoon the store re-opened.
The fire department operations involved at least 25 volunteers from the four various agencies; additional agencies were asked for assistance because of the scope of such an operation and the possibility of having to respond to other incidents during this lengthy operation. Several firefighters trained in explosives recognition and response were on the scene, but were not called upon, said Larry Couch, fire chief for the New Martinsville VFD.
“In today’s society, every threat has to be taken seriously and that is what we had to do in this situation,” Couch said. “The majority of people were completely understanding and cooperative with the firefighters during the incident. It did baffle a few people when we could only tell them that the store was closed, but we simply were limited on the information that we could share with them.”
Police are still investigating who made the threatening call, however as of now there are no leads.