RadioOnFire.com – A number of downtown Baltimore streets were closed for hours Monday as police investigated a van loaded with what turned out to be two bins of stolen diesel fuel in a parking garage at 100 East Pratt St.
At 10:39 a.m., fire crews responded after someone noticed a leak coming from the van and smelled gasoline. Upon arrival, fire crews called in police.
That building was evacuated, as was a wide swath of the Inner Harbor, including the visitors center, Harborplace, the Gallery, the Hyatt and the PNC and TransAmerica buildings.
Baltimore police Col. Richard Worley said the 15-passanger van’s blackout windows made it difficult to determine what was inside. The bomb squad dispatched a robot and, upon seeing what appeared to be cables, made entry into the van and discovered equipment used to siphon diesel fuel.
Bomb technicians and hazardous materials crews were at the scene. At 1:49 p.m., the bomb squad said it was safe for fire crews to go in and take gas readings. Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said authorities found no bomb.
Officials initially believed there to be 1,000 gallons of gas; however, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment later said it was roughly 80 gallons.
Streets in the area began to reopen at around 4:30 p.m.
Around 6 p.m., the van was towed from the seventh floor of the parking garage.