HENDERSONVILLE — A bomb threat was made Thursday morning at North Henderson High School, and it was one of 16 threats that have been made at schools across the state since April 5, according to Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin.
Griffin said at Thursday's press conference that at approximately 7:44 a.m., the Henderson County E-911 center received an anonymous call reporting a "bomb threat" at North Henderson. The school, which consists of both North Henderson and Apple Valley Middle School, was immediately evacuated, and all students and facility members were reported safe, Griffin said.
Members of the Henderson County Sheriff's Office Explosive Ordinance Team, SWAT, and Criminal Investigations Division were on scene to help clear the school. Later Thursday afternoon, Griffin held a press conference at the Sheriff's Office, and accompanying him was Henderson County Public Schools Superintendent John Bryant.
"This morning, the Sheriff's Office received a call that there was a suspicious package at North Henderson High School. This package was described as something we believed that could potentially be harmful," Griffin said.
The bomb squad and the office's explosives detection canine were deployed, Griffin said. No explosives were found in the package, which had been placed inside a classroom. Fruitland Road and US 64 East were both closed approximately a half mile before the school while detectives investigated both schools.
The all clear was given later in the afternoon.
Henderson County Public Schools canceled school Friday for both North and Apple Valley after the incident. HCPS had this post on Facebook at 9:40 a.m.:
There was also a report of a bomb threat at Brevard High School on Thursday morning around 10 a.m., according to Transylvania County Schools. Members of local law enforcement there also cleared the scene, and around noon, students and faculty returned to class.
On Wednesday, April 6, Haywood County Schools said a bomb threat was made that included Tuscola High School, Waynesville Middle, Canton Middle and Bethel Elementary. That threat was later deemed a hoax.
Griffin said detectives believe the threats are possibly connected and that it stretches farther than just North Carolina.
"We've learned that this event seems to be associated with a disturbing pattern of similar calls across the state," Griffin said. "I've just now received information from a federal authority that this spans as far as Tacoma, Washington, and even threats made in schools in Florida."
Griffin said the Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Hendersonville Police Department, and three county fire departments (Edneyville, Mountain Home and Dana). It was also assisted by the Asheville Police Department and Buncombe County Sheriff's Office.
The investigation is ongoing.
North Henderson High and Apple Valley Middle will be on a regular schedule Friday, Bryant said.
This article originally appeared on Hendersonville Times-News: Sheriff's Office: Anonymous bomb threat at North Henderson part of 'disturbing trend'