By Trent Moore, David Palmer and Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
Patients are slowly being returned to Cullman Regional Medical Center after a bomb threat that caused the entire campus to be evacuated.
CRMC chief executive office Jim Weidner said the process would be slow because staff had to get back in place to be prepared to care for the patients.
Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said earlier there are “people of interest” in relation to the bomb threat at CRMC and two hospitals in Marshall County. He said most of the interest at this time is centered on individuals in Marshall County.
Culpepper would not speculate on a motive for the bomb threats at this time.
Weidner said 31 patients were sent to Woodland Hospital. Another patients were evacuated to a local physician’s office, while the remainder were housed at the civic center in Cullman
Authorities completed a sweep of CRMC around 10:15 p.m., just more than an hour after the threat was received. Police officers, deputies, hospital personnel and other emergency responders worked in pairs. The Cullman Police Department also used a bomb dog on the scene.
The bomb threat was received at 9 p.m. for two hospitals in Marshall County and CRMC.
“All of the patients were evacuated safely under CRMC’s emergency plan to Woodland and the civic center,” Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said. “There are people of interest through the investigation, and most of that is coming out of Marshall County at this time. It would be premature to speculate why this happened.”
“There were additional ambulances here as well as CARTS and some of our vehicles,” added Craig Green, assistant police chief.
Culpepper said the evacuation was carried out safely and rapidly after the threat was received.
“We had response from the Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Resuce, the police department and other emergency responders,” Culpepper said.
CRMC chief executive officer Jim Weidner also said the evacuation was carried out under an existing emergency plan. The hospital was declared safe by about 10:30 p.m. Arrangements are being made to return patients to the hospital.
“We weren’t expecting this, but we drill for it,” Weidner said. “I was really proud of our staff and all the emerency responders. We had some 200 employees on duty tonight and a number of physicians who were on hand at Woodland and the civic center to care for the patients.”