Construction resumes after suspicious package caused evacuations near Permian Pipeline site

Hill Country

BLANCO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Kinder Morgan is resuming construction Wednesday after the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene of a suspicious package Tuesday on Chimney Valley Road near the company’s Permian Highway Pipeline site.

“The construction area has been thoroughly inspected by PHP and law enforcement, and after confirming the safety of the construction site and our crews, we are resuming full construction activities today. PHP will continue to investigate and prosecute any individuals who are discovered to be threatening the safety or security of our employees and crews,” Kinder Morgan said in a release.

Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said residents in the “immediate area” had been moved to a safe location, and everyone else in the area is asked to shelter in place while crews deal with the package.

Kinder Morgan says work in the area has halted. They said one of their contractors “discovered a suspicious device” on the work site.

Bill Fojtasek was asked to evacuate.

“Two Blanco county sheriff officers came up and said y’all need to evacuate and I said, ‘Evacuate?’ and they said ‘Yeah.’ And I said, ‘You know through the grapevine we heard there was a bomb scare.’ ‘Well, I can’t tell you anything,’ ‘Well, I understand,'” he recounts.

Fojtasek and his wife stayed with a friend all day.

Around 4 p.m., officials said the device had been neutralized—although they weren’t sure yet if it was explosive.

“We haven’t determined whether or not it was or wasn’t, but we need to treat it as though it is, so agents and officers and everybody who’s come out are taking it as though it could be a serious matter and taking their time, and also are securing the surrounding for any possible evidence that may be at the scene,” said Sgt. Deon Cockrell with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Cockrell said there was no timeline on when investigators would be able to figure out if the device was a bomb or not.

“How long will it take for them to determine will be where they get it back to, and when they analyze that evidence or that device that was at that location,” he said.

Officers started allowing some residents to return around 6 p.m. as they narrowed their crime scene, said Cockrell. Part of Chimney Valley Road also reopened around 6 p.m.

As of 7:30 p.m., Fojtasek was still waiting to get inside his home.

Multiple agencies are helping to investigate, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI.

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