SOUTH PORTLAND — Southern Maine Community College reopened at 1:30 p.m. Monday and classes were set to resume at 4 p.m. after police found no explosive devices on the South Portland campus.
The search was conducted after a caller told South Portland campus security three bombs were hidden on school grounds. The 8:42 a.m. call forced the closure and evacuation of SMCC campuses in South Portland, Brunswick and Bath.
South Portland Fire Department Lt. Robb Couture said the caller spoke in a disguised voice and mentioned no locations for the bombs. Eight K-9 teams, and Portland, South Portland, SMCC police and Maine State Police troopers searched the campus through the early afternoon. Firefighters from Portland and South Portland were also on the scene.
Couture spoke at a campus parking lot press conference about two hours after the threats, and said the situation had changed from an active emergency to a precautionary evacuation. Students who subscribe to a reverse-call system were alerted to the closure, and traffic continued to flow away from the campus on Broadway for about two hours after the call was received.
Couture said SMCC President Ronald Cantor was not on campus when the threat was made. He said he was uncertain how many students and staff were ordered to leave, but called the evacuation orderly and said college staff and city authorities have a collaborative emergency plan that is rehearsed. Because of its location, clearing the campus takes time, he added.
“It’s the unfortunate part of the location; there are two ways out. It creates a bottleneck,” Couture said.
Cars leave the South Portland campus of Southern Maine Community College on Monday after a bomb threat led to the cancellation of classes in South Portland, Bath and Brunswick.