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Package sparks off evacuation

11/03/01

By Jason Fink Jersey Journal staff writer

PATH riders in Jersey City received quite a scare yesterday morning when the Journal Square station was evacuated and the police bomb squad swooped in following reports of a suspicious package.

The entire plaza at the Journal Square Transportation Center was closed off and yellow police tape was wrapped around the entrances to the complex shortly after 10:40 a.m. The public transportation hub houses the PATH station, a bus terminal and several offices of various public and private entities.

After nearly an hour, the bomb squad - part of the Jersey City Police Department - determined that the package, which had been left on a bench on the PATH platform, was harmless, according to Deputy Director Edgar Martinez, a police spokesman.

All service between Newark and Journal Square was shut down during the investigation.

By 11 a.m., crowds had formed in Journal Square just outside the police lines, as nervous onlookers pressed PATH officials and police for details. "I heard it was a bomb or anthrax," said one woman, a Harrison resident who was on her way to the PATH station after an appointment in Jersey City. The woman, who would not give her name, said she had become used to this sort of inconvenience since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

"I'm not afraid, really, I just want to get home."

According to officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs PATH, an employee noticed the package and called police. Service was restored and people allowed back in after police gave the OK at 11:30 a.m., said Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman.

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