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A Williston police officer directs traffic as students, teachers and staff evacuate Williston High School Friday afternoon because of a bomb threat.

Jamie Kelly • Williston Herald

The Williams County SWAT Team searched Williston High School after someone called in a bomb threat earlier Friday, but the search didn't turn up anything.

The high school was evacuated after a bomb threat was called in around 1:13 p.m. Friday, according to the Williams County Sheriff's Office.

About 1,250 students, teachers and staff were all out of the building shortly after the evacuation started, Peter Frankman, spokesman for Williston Public School District No. 1 said.

There were 25 to 30 students who didn’t have transportation, according to Mike Fronimos, public information officer for the Williston Fire Department. They were taken to Williston Fire Department Station 3 on 37th Street where their parents were able to pick them up.

On Friday evening, officers from the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Williston Police and the Sheriff’s Office had set up a perimeter around the high school while SWAT team members worked to clear the building and try to find any explosives that might be there.

The U.S. Air Force loaned a working dog from Minot Air Force Base to the SWAT team to help with the search, Fronimos said. He said residents of the Harvest Hills neighborhood might see a helicopter landing near the high school.

Police asked the public to avoid the Harvest Hills area, particularly 44th Avenue, Long Branch Avenue, 37th Street and 32nd Street, Sgt. Detective Caleb Fry with the Sheriff's Office said.

The investigation is still in the very early stages, and the Williston police asked anyone with information about the threat or that might help the investigation to call the police department at 701-577-1212.

David Peterson, Williston’s chief of police, said his department had asked the FBI for assistance with the investigation.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, District 1 superintendent Michael Campbell said police were looking into the credibility of the threat.

“We would like to thank our first responders for acting quickly and decisively,” Campbell said. “This includes the Williston Police Department, the Williams County Sheriff’s Office, the North Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Williston Fire Department. Thank you to our students, staff, and parents for keeping a calm demeanor throughout this process.”

In addition to the evacuation, all activities planned for Friday evening at Williston High School have been canceled.

If there is no further threat, school will resume Monday morning, Campbell said.

 

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