Police continue to investigate a bomb threat that closed the Bryan Center on West Campus for slightly more than an hour Tuesday.
No arrests have been in the incident, which began shortly after 7 a.m. when an individual called the Durham Emergency Communications Center to report a bomb threat in the building that houses university stores, dining facilities, theaters and other offices.
About two dozen personnel from Durham and Duke Police, the Durham Fire Department and the Durham Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene within minutes, cleared the building and set up a perimeter, said John Dailey, chief of Duke Police. The officers first conducted a preliminary sweep of the building, then a bomb-sniffing dog from the Durham Sheriff’s Office was deployed to conduct a detailed search.
The scene was cleared by police around 9:15 a.m., and the Bryan Center reopened and resumed normal operations.
"Our most urgent priority is the safety and welfare of our students, employees and visitors," said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration and Duke's emergency coordinator. "We take all bomb threats very seriously and immediately evacuated the building to conduct a thorough search, which did not uncover evidence of a bomb."
Duke notified its community through the DukeALERT emergency notification system and sent blast text messages and emails to students, employees and nearby Durham neighbors. Announcements were also posted on Duke Today, the university's news site.
"It's critical that we do our best to keep our students informed, reassured and, ultimately, safe," said Larry Moneta, vice president for Student Affairs. "There's nothing more important than ensuring a safe and secure campus environment."
Three TV news crews came to campus, and many more media outlets called to ask about the bomb threat. The crews were directed to the visitors’ lot on Science Drive until the all-clear was given.
Duke officials also monitored social media throughout the morning and provided updates to Duke's Twitter accounts as developments occurred.
"These situations are always disconcerting, and we express our gratitude to the first-responders and to community members for their understanding and patience," Cavanaugh said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Duke Police at (919) 684-2444 or to submit information online.