An apartment building in Wheaton was temporarily evacuated on Thursday after a man said there was a bomb in the building, according to authorities. The bomb squad found a "suspicious-looking device" and eventually determined it did not contain explosives. Credit: Photo by Dan Schere

This story was updated at 12:55 p.m. on June 23, 2022, to include the latest information

Authorities have determined that a Wheaton apartment building is safe for the return of residents after a bomb threat forced an evacuation of some floors Thursday morning.

Just before 7 a.m. Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service crews were called to the building at 11215 Georgia Ave. across from Westfield Wheaton mall due to the sounding of an automatic fire alarm, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told reporters. Residents in the building told 911 operators that someone in the building was “making references to a bomb” in an eighth-floor unit, he said.

“Bomb technicians from Fire & Rescue made an assessment of the building, entered the unit, and found items of concern in the unit,” Goldstein said. He did not elaborate on the items, or why they were of concern.

One person was taken into custody by Montgomery County police, Goldstein said. He did not have additional details.

Initially, floors seven through 10 of the 17-story high-rise building were evacuated, Goldstein said. Later that morning, more floors were evacuated, but not the entire building, he said.

Goldstein said that just prior to the 11:45 a.m. media briefing, it was determined that the items found in the eighth-floor unit were “safe and of no concern,” and that the building was determined to be safe.

Displaced residents were being sheltered in the Wheaton Library and Recreation Center throughout the morning. Goldstein said a plan is in place to allow the residents back into the building.

When Goldstein was asked whether the person in custody was living in the unit where the suspicious items were found, he said he didn’t know.

“It is a unit that is referenced by this individual. I do not know of his affiliation with that unit,” he said.

A county police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

Dan Schere

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com.