One in custody after suspicious container found inside RCTC theater

Chemical inside leads to evacuation of around 50 people from the theater.

Posted: Sep 18, 2019 8:21 PM
Updated: Sep 19, 2019 8:55 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – One person is in custody after emergency crews respond to a suspicious package that caused around 50 people to evacuate a theater at Rochester Community and Technical College.

RCTC security called in the Rochester Fire Department a little before 8 pm Wednesday about a package with some liquid in it found in Hill Theater.

The theater was evacuated and a few people reported symptoms like scratchy throats. They were checked out by Mayo Ambulance Service and no injuries are being reported. Authorities say they’re not sure how anyone could have gotten in contact with the liquid chemical inside the package.

"RFD was called for a report of a suspicious container with liquid inside left inside an occupied theater. First-arriving units found about 50  people evacuated and waiting outside the building. Security met RFD and advised they believed everyone was out of the theater and a suspect was in custody," the Rochester Fire Department said.

"Three patients with symptoms including headache and chest irritation were located and evaluated. None were transported by ambulance. RFD crews entered the theatre wearing SCBA and assessed the container and air quality with handheld monitors. The container was a water bottle with a small amount of liquid inside. Crews received a slight reading of ammonia on their
monitors."

Rochester police and the fire department’s Hazardous Materials Team also responded to this incident.  An investigation is ongoing.

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