After receiving a threat that there were “several bombs” inside the KABC-TV Glendale studio, authorities have called an all-clear.
According to Public Information Officer Tawny Lightfoot of the Glendale Police Department, the station received a bomb threat during a phone call from an anonymous man, stating that there were multiple bombs inside the studio. The call was placed at 1:52 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after the bomb threat was received, police began evacuating the building, sending in bomb-sniffing dogs and officers to search the studio. If any bombs were found, the bomb squad would be called immediately.
“The building was evacuated and there were approximately two to four buildings that were voluntarily evacuated,” said Lightfoot.
One of the buildings nearby that was voluntarily evacuated during the bomb threat was a Disney building, located a block away from the KABC studio. A spokesperson for the Disney building said in a statement that “KABC’s facilities in Glendale have been evacuated, following a threat received by the Glendale Police Department.”
“Employees have been safely evacuated. Police are on site, and we’re awaiting word once they have completed a thorough investigation of the location,” they continued.
The Glendale studio, which is located at 500 Circle Seven Drive, houses both ABC7 and the West Coast operations of ABC news. The building’s close proximity to Flower Street caused Flower to be completely blocked off to traffic during the investigation of the bomb threat, and according to an eyewitness, police were “everywhere directing traffic away from Circle Seven Drive.” While officers and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the entire building, ABC7 anchors David Ono and Ellen Leyva set up for the 4 p.m. newscast on a lawn about a block away from the studio.
“We’ve never done this before,” Ono told viewers at the start of the live newscast. “I’ve never been in a situation like this before. What you’ve been seeing on social media, what you’ve been hearing is true. ABC7 is under a bomb threat, and as a result, we have evacuated the building. We can’t be in the studio, we can’t utilize a lot of our facilities, but what we have done is mobilized our entire staff, brought them out here. We’re literally sitting on the lawn, ready to give you the news as best as we can give you the news.”
Rebecca Campbell, who is the President of ABC Owned Television Stations Group, did a live interview on KABC, and stated that the decision to do the newscast outside during the bomb threat was made quickly.
“Immediately when we were evacuated, we all said, ‘OK, here’s the plan.’ It’s also a plan that we’ve practiced in the past; we’ve gone through drills like this.”
Thankfully, the dogs and officers conducting the search found no suspicious devices, and no injuries or damage was reported. Around 4:35 p.m., an all-clear was called on the bomb threat, and staffers were able to return to the building.
KABC 7 officials stated that they have never had a bomb threat before.
Following the outdoor newscast, Ono addressed the situation.
“It is interesting how, with some ingenuity, some quick thinking and some cool heads, that you could move an entire operation out of a building, out of a studio and bring it out here on the lawn. Granted… we were not able to bring satellite shots from all over the world like we usually do or show some of the stories that reporters prepared ahead of time, but we still were able to cover the news the best way that we could with live pictures and people reporting from various areas of this bomb threat.”
The 5 p.m. newscast was completed inside the studio. Police are still investigating the origin of the bomb threat.
[Photos by ABC7; Newscom; Deadline.]