Metro-East News

100 evacuated from Benton hospital after fake bomb threats

Emergency personnel evacuated around 100 patients and hospital staff members in Benton on Sunday evening after fake bomb threats were called in to the facility.

Benton Fire Chief Shane Cockrum said a person called Franklin Hospital at 5:13 p.m. and said everyone should leave immediately because of a bomb in the building — at that time facility officials activated the emergency evacuation plan.

“Three minutes later a second caller — it is unknown if it was the same caller as before — called and also stated that there was a bomb in the building,” Cockrum said.

Benton Fire Department arrived at the hospital at 5:17 p.m.

Five patients and 20 staff members were evacuated from Franklin Hospital in addition to 64 patients and 10 staff from the connected Helia Healthcare, which is an assisted living facility.

The Secretary of State Police bomb squad was called in and inspected the hospital and surrounding area with a bomb-sniffing dog for just over an hour.

They found no bomb and gave an “all-clear” at about 9:30 p.m. Cockrum said.

Cockrum said the hospital was back open for emergency care at 10 p.m. and all seniors were returned to their living facility by 11 p.m.

No one was injured during the evacuation.

The Benton Police Department is looking into who made the calls to the hospital.

Crews from Benton police and fire departments, West City police and fire departments and Christopher Police Department responded to the threat.

West Frankfurt Fire Department covered the city of Benton for all other fire emergencies during the evacuation.