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Suspicious Package Deemed Safe, Pitt Students Allowed Back Into Dorms

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A suspicious package dropped off at the UPS Store in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood Wednesday has been deemed safe after it prompted evacuations, road closures and sent the bomb squad and Hazmat crews to the scene.

It was 6:40 p.m. when a UPS Store employee at 3945 Forbes Avenue in Oakland made the call to police after a man, who doesn't attend Pitt, dropped off a package saying he was mailing papers.

While there were papers inside, it was the other things - powder, wires and metal - in there that caused concern.

"They're describing it as scientific materials, that's the only details that I have," said University of Pittsburgh Vice Chancellor of Communications Kenneth Service. "There was some kind of a white powder, there was some metallic-like materials, there were some wires and it just looked suspicious."

All 220 Pitt students in Bruce Hall, which is directly above the UPS Store, as well as nearby Brackenridge Hall, were forced to evacuate.

The university sent out an emergency alert to their students.

"Just an announcement that everyone needs to evacuate the building and security guards came up and told us to leave," said one student.

After the Pittsburgh Bomb Squad and Hazmat crews x-rayed the package, they deemed it safe. Authorities say it was ill-described to the UPS worker.

The man who mailed the package was released from police custody and all students were allowed back inside their dorm rooms.

University officials say they're glad this was a misunderstanding and that the UPS clerk was so vigilant.

"He was doing the right thing," said Service. "He had a package that didn't match the explanation that was given to him, and so he reported it."

All students were allowed back into their dorms right before 10 p.m. That's also when the scene was cleared.

No charges will be filed against the man who mailed the package.

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