May 30, 2006

San Francisco City Hall evacuated over packages

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco City Hall was
evacuated on Tuesday morning after three suspicious packages
were found in the building, officials said.

"They have found several devices," a police duty official
said. "Suspicious packages."

A bomb squad was at the scene investigating, as were police
and sheriff's department officials. Several neighboring streets
were closed off.

"This happens about six or seven times a year where there
is a scare," Peter Ragone, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom
told Reuters. "They generally respond with the utmost caution."

Several buildings in San Francisco have been evacuated over
the past year because of bomb scares, but all turned out to be
false alarms.

Ragone said the mayor was not present when the evacuation
took place around 9 a.m. With a soaring dome based on St.
Peter's at the Vatican, San Francisco's early 20th century City
Hall is one of the city's best-known buildings.