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Columbus PD headquarters reopens after 'explosion'

 
Columbus PD headquarters reopens after 'explosion'
Posted Wednesday, September 25th 2013 @ 4am  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A large portion of downtown Columbus was shut down and the Columbus Police Headquarters Building evacuated after what was described as an explosion Tuesday evening. It turned out to be a battery related to construction at the building.

Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Weiner says investigators eventually found a battery on a hydraulic lift had exploded.

"They observed that an industrial battery which was being charged for that piece of equipment, looked like it had exploded," he said.

The incident happened around 7:30 p.m. It initially put the building on lock down while crews tried to find the cause. The building was reopened at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"A preliminary check of the interior of the building, we didn't find anything as far as damage. There are no reports of injuries at this time," said Weiner.

People inside the building were told to evacuate by using the stairs, not elevators, over police radios. About 120 people left, many jumping onto COTA buses that had been brought in.

Investigators checked surveillance cameras in the area to see if they could see anything suspicious. Weiner says they did have a report of a witness claiming to have seen someone put something into a nearby manhole, but a search has turned up nothing.

"The bomb squad searched that manhole. We did not find any devices. There were no signs of an explosion," he said.

Weiner says that once they were able to slow down and get personnel inside the building to do a thorough search they discovered the exploded battery.

"Once the piece of equipment was rendered safe, police personnel were allowed back into the building," he said.

The Franklin County Jail on South Front and Jackson Pike were both placed on lock down as a precaution.

Weiner says that during the entire incident, police calls were still being answered and service was running as usual.

Click here for photos from the scene.

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