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Local News

Bomb Scare on State Street Turns Out to Be a Cooler with Ice Packs

Police use a water cannon to destroy the suspicious package, with the shot heard at least a block away

A Styrofoam cooler filled with frozen ice packs triggered a bomb scare Tuesday afternoon on the 1400 block of State Street.

Santa Barbara police Lt. Brent Mandrell said a suspicious package was reported about 1 p.m., and authorities mobilized to assess the possible threat.

After results using a portable X-ray machine were inconclusive as to the cooler’s contents, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad used a water cannon to destroy the object, Mandrell said. The high-pressure shot, which was fired about 3:30 p.m., could be heard from at least a block away. The cooler’s contents were then identified as four or five ice packs.

The portion of State Street from Micheltorena to Victoria streets was cordoned off with police tape while Fire Department personnel and American Medical Response ambulances waited nearby.

The cooler was left on the corner of State and Sola streets, where the U.S. Bankruptcy Court is located, and some employees evacuated the building after police officers recommended they do so, one employee told Noozhawk.

Mandrell said that people in other businesses and homes nearby also were notified and urged to stay inside.

“We did the safest possible thing we could do with this,” he said, thanking other agencies the department partners with in bomb threat situations.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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