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Bomb Threats Temporarily Close Roosevelt Middle School, JCC

Both the school and JCC reopened after being evacuated for close to 90 minutes, authorities said.

Bomb threats at both Roosevelt Middle School and the Jewish Community Center in West Orange forced the evacuation of both buildings Monday, police said. 

Both buildings reopened about 90 minutes later after they were deemed safe by the county bomb squad. 

At around 9:48 a.m., a call came in from an anonymous man, claiming to have planted a bomb in the school and the JCC, according to West Orange police Sgt. John Palardy.  Police alerted officials in both buildings, who implemented their emergency protocol plans.

Members, staff and approximately 240 children in the JCC preschool program were evacuated,  according to the emergency plan.  The children were escorted to the Jewish Community House, adjacent to the JCC, said a JCC staff member.  The students were allowed to return around 11:15 a.m. after the building was searched by law enforcement personnel.

"Having already increased regular patrols through our property in the past several weeks, the West Orange Police will be further increasing their surveillance of our facilities, effective immediately," said JCC Metrowest CEO Alan Friedman in a statement following the incident.

At Roosevelt Middle School, the students and faculty evacuated to nearby Gregory Elementary School.  The students remained out of the building for roughly 90 minutes, from 10:15-11:45 a.m.

"We do drills every month," said Interim Superintendent Jim O'Neill.  "This shows that doing those drills worked well as we were well trained to respond appropriately."

The Essex County Sheriff's Department, Essex County Bomb Squad and the K-9 Patrol responded to both buildings.  The occupants of each building were not cleared to return until the bomb squad finished their sweep of the building.

"They took every precaution they can to make sure there was no threat to the safety of anybody in either location," Palardy said about the bomb squad.  "It obviously took some time to clear and go through each location, but everything worked out."

West Orange Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

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