Just after 10 a.m. Thursday, an unidentified caller dialed 911 and told dispatchers a bomb had been placed inside the Marshall Durbin chicken processing plant in Jasper.
The call forced company officials to shut down the plant and evacuate the more than 250 employees who were working inside.
Jasper police and firefighters responded and were on the scene within 15 minutes of the call and began to cordon off the area. Employees were forced to move to a grassy area approximately 100 yards in front of the plant.
Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said police were given audio copies of the 911 call. She identified the caller as a female and said Marshall Durbin officials were reviewing the call to see if they could identify the caller.
Bomb-sniffing dogs from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Burlington-Northern Sante Fe Railroad were brought in and sent into the massive plant, which sits parallel to Second Avenue and is less than a mile from downtown Jasper. Rowe said nothing was found.
Marshall Durbin employees were allowed back in the building just after noon and returned to work after sitting outside for two hours in temperatures that were in the mid to upper 80s.
In addition to Jasper police, lso responding to the scene was Regional Paramedical Services and officials from the Walker County Emergency Management Agency.
Rowe said events like Thursday’s bomb threat not only disrupt the businesses but also pose a threat to the public because police, firefighters and other first responders are taken off the street to handle the threat.
“The company lost a lot of production time, and we were forced to pull all our resources to handle this call,” Rowe said. “It’s really disturbing when something like this happens.”
On July 5, a bomb threat was called in to Walker County E-911 claiming a bomb had been placed inside Walker Baptist Medical Center and on select bridges along Ala. Highway 69.
The threat forced Walker Baptist officials to evacuate the hospital, including 76 patients.
A woman in labor delivered a baby girl in the hospital’s front parking lot.
Bomb-sniffing dogs were called in then, too, and found nothing.
A week later, two people were arrested in Chattanooga, Tenn., and charged with making a terroristic threat and armed robbery in connection with a robbery later that afternoon at Traders and Farmers Bank in Curry.
They are still jailed in Chattanooga and are fighting extradition back to Jasper.