Clifton City Hall Locked Down For Hours

8 11 2007

CLIFTON — What first appeared to be seven tons of doom sitting in front of City Hall turned out to be seven tons of nuisance.

A boulder intended to form the base of a new municipal monument caused a scare Friday morning when a city worker noticed a pair of wires sticking out of the stone.

The worker, who had just unloaded the rock from a flatbed truck, knew the boulder had come from a quarry. He knew the quarry used dynamite to loosen rocks.

He also worried the wires could be connected to an unexploded charge.

“If he drilled into it,” Detective Lt. Richard Berdnik said, “he worried that he would cause an explosion.”

The worker alerted his supervisor instead.

The municipal complex was evacuated and city workers were allowed to go home, Mayor James Anzaldi said.

Police and fire officials blocked traffic for several blocks while workers parked two garbage trucks to shield the building in case of a blast, Berdnik said.

By 2 p.m., the bomb squad of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department realized the would-be bomb was a false alarm.

“We tested the electronic currents of the wires,” the Sheriff’s Department spokesman, Bill Maer, said. No unexploded charges were found.

And doom turned to nuisance.

Following the all-clear, dozens of residents streamed toward City Hall. Some came to pay their taxes. Others came for a flu shot.

They were all told to come back Tuesday. After all, city workers had been dismissed and Monday is a federal holiday.

Many were angry at the inconvenience.

“This is terrible,” Mary DePalma said. “You would think the Health Department would’ve called.

“And knowing the price of gas,” the octogenarian continued. “Look at all of these people coming down here and wasting gas.”




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