Bomb threat shuts down Ferriday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 2, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – An anonymous bomb threat called in to Concordia Bank’s Louisiana Avenue branch stopped business and traffic for a two-block radius for three and a half hours Friday – though no bomb was found.

The woman who called in the bomb threat said the device would go off at 2 p.m. The SWAT team of the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office thoroughly searched the building shortly after the threat was phoned in at just before 11 a.m., but found no bomb, said Sheriff Randy Maxwell.

Still, all customers and employees in the bank – about 35 to 40 people, Maxwell estimated – were evacuated. A radius of more than one block was closed off with police tape and sheriff’s cars until 2:30 p.m.

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Local resident Everett Shiele sat outside the old post office building, looking in the direction of the bank as 2 p.m. ticked past.

&uot;I’m here because my money’s in there,&uot;&160;Shiele said, pausing to laugh. &uot;I&160;guess they’ve got to treat the threat as real. But I just want to know:&160;Did (the caller) accomplish what they set out to do?&uot;

In addition, more than a dozen nearby stores closed their doors for the day.

One-Stop Pawn Shop was the only nearby shop to stay open during the threat.

&uot;This has basically stopped our business,&uot;&160;said owner Lorraine Smith. &uot;I’m behind a two-foot brick wall and bulletproof glass, so I’m in the safest place I&160;can be.&uot;

Sheriff’s deputies, Ferriday and Vidalia police and Ferriday Fire Department – up to 15 officers at one time – and Concordia Fire District No. 2 personnel responded to the scene.

For its part, Concordia Bank simply conducted business from its former branch office on North E.E. Wallace Boulevard, part of which is now occupied by the Ferriday Museum. The location has no computers, but the bank conducted as many transactions as possible.

&uot;We taken all precautionary measures possible to make sure everyone is safe … and to make business go as smooth as possible for other employees and customers,&uot; said Pat Biglane of Concordia Bank.

But some bank customers were concerned with bigger issues than their own inconvenience.

&uot;It’s a sad situation,&uot; said Ethel L. Rosenthal of Clayton. &uot;The world’s gone bad when things like this happen. I’ve never seen anything like this happen in this area in my life.&uot;