One person was injured after a package that was delivered to a Northeastern University building in Boston exploded on Tuesday night. The package detonated around 7 pm when a staff member, 45, opened it inside Holmes Hall, a school spokesperson said. The staffer suffered minor injuries and is being treated at an area hospital, according to the school.
According to the bomb squad of the Boston Police Department, a search turned up a second similar package that was ultimately determined to be safe. Police have launched an investigation and suspect that it could be a terrorist attack. However, no students were injured in the incident, the school said.
Shortly after the package exploded at 7:20 p.m., the Boston Bomb Squad, Boston Police, Boston Fire, and Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to the Leon Street incident. According to NBC 10, police also responded to a second suspicious package near the Museum of Fine Arts, but the city's bomb squad eventually assessed it to be safe.
According to the school, the bomb squad of the Boston Police Department and the city's emergency services are looking into the situation. Just before 8 pm in the evening, the building was declared safe and the school community was advised to stay away.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu stated that she is taking the incident "very seriously" during a press conference for the media.
"This city is home to everyone's young people, from our littlest learners up to our college students and university staff," said Mayor Wu.
"So we want to make sure we emphasize that this is of the utmost priority: the safety and well-being of all of our young people here."
At 7:55 p.m., Holmes Hall was evacuated, and a warning to stay away from the area was conveyed to the Boston campus.
The university informed Northeastern students that evening classes are postponed due to the ongoing investigation at the Behrakis Health Sciences Center, Shillman Hall, Ryder Hall, Kariotis Hall, Dockser Hall, and West Village F.
The Boston Police Department is working with its law enforcement partners at Boston Regional Intelligence, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in what they suspect an attempted terror attack. "We are going to be working and continue to work with all our campus security partners, as well, to make sure all the students here are safe â as well as the rest of the residents in the city," the commissioner said.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force, the evidence response team, and special agent bomb technicians are all fully available to the FBI's Boston Division, which has assured its allies, especially the Boston Police, of its support.
"We're fully integrated with our partners and remain committed to resolving the incident safely," said FBI Boston Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jason Cromartie.
According to Boston Police, the building was evacuated after the explosion at Holmes Hall on Leon Street occurred on campus.
When Holmes Hall was evacuated, Jacob Isaacs, a student there, told 7News that there was considerable uncertainty about what had transpired.
"We were in class and then we saw two policemen walk through the building and then as soon as we look out the window, we see a fire truck with the lights on blazing," said Issacs.
Our teacher says, "I've got to see what's going on," and as he does, he notices that a fire truck is leaving and a police car is standing outside. Immediately after that, the fire alarm begins to sound.
Isaacs noted that prior to witnessing the arrival of first responders, they did not hear anything that sounded like an explosion. Investigations into the incident are ongoing. However, it is still unclear how the package got there.