The area around Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco was cleared for about two hours today while the city police department's bomb squad investigated an odd- and suspicious-looking device on the sidewalk outside the building.
The device — a yellow plastic tub about three feet long and one foot tall, with some clear liquid at the bottom and what appeared to be a bottle of bleach inside with a wire attached to a red blinking light — was determined to be harmless. There were no injuries or property damage.
As reported on the websites of the major local television stations, Sgt. Steve Mannina of the San Francisco Police Dept. told Bay City News that a gardener noticed the tub on Hayes Street outside Davies Symphony Hall and reported it to authorities at approximately 8:17 am local time. Police and firefighters were sent to the scene, along with a specially equipped robot that approached the device.
"The bomb squad determined that the liquid in the container was not a threat and nothing explosive whatsoever was found," said Mannina. "[But] it was enough to warrant a full response. We always need to err on the side of caution and that's why we have the bomb squad robot and specially trained officers in this field."
Portions of Van Ness Avenue and Hayes Street were closed until about 10:20 am, several bus lines were detoured and traffic was snarled for several hours as a result of the scare, according to the report. Davies Symphony Hall itself was not evacuated, though staff members were asked to remain inside the building and to stay away from windows.
While this morning's rehearsals at the hall were delayed, tonight's concert by the San Francisco Symphony, with conductor Semyon Bychkov and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, will not be affected.