A bomb threat at the Health and Human Services Department prompted evacuations from at least three buildings in Washington, D.C. for about four hours on Wednesday morning, officials said.
The HHS sent an alert about the threat around 9.40am to staff at the agency’s Humphrey Building. Shortly after, emails also went out to Capitol Hill staff informing them that the O’Neill House Office Building and the U.S. Botanic Garden had been evacuated.
The alerts said the U.S. Capitol Police were assisting the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service with a ‘suspicious package.’
Sarah Lovenheim, a spokesperson for HHS, said in a statement to media outlets that there was a ‘bomb threat received’ at the agency’s main building and ‘out of an abundance of caution’ it was evacuated.
She said there was ‘no reported incident’ and that authorities were ‘monitoring the situation closely with Federal Protective Service’ officials.
Occupants were told to ‘remain calm’ and move in a ‘safe manner’ to the exits, take annunciators on the way out if possible, close – but not lock – doors behind them and check in with their emergency management team.
A number of nearby streets along Independence Avenue SW and C Street SW were also closed, reported the Washington Post.