Officials search Williamsburg building where man accused of planting IED performed work

Update: Crews have searched the building, and it has been cleared of any threat, Williamsburg Police Maj. Greg Riley said at the scene. 

Williamsburg police and fire departments, Newport News Fire Department, Colonial Williamsburg Public Safety, and William and Mary Police Department responded to the scene.


A building in the 400 block of Duke of Gloucester Street was evacuated Monday afternoon, following concerned resident reports that the Gloucester man who detonated an explosive near the William and Mary campus last week recently performed maintenance on the building’s HVAC system, officials said.

Williamsburg Fire was originally called to the building after a heat sensor alarm went off in the building’s HVAC system, Williamsburg Police Maj. Greg Riley said Monday. Residents of the building then told police they were concerned because they believe the Gloucester man charged in connection with the explosion, Stephen James Powers, had performed work on the system recently, Riley said.

Residents were still evacuated as of 5:03 p.m. Newport News Fire Department Bomb Squad was requested to assist in a search of the building, Riley said on scene Monday.

William and Mary tweeted at about 4:50 p.m. letting people know of the evacuation and search, saying, “City Police are checking a bldg in Merchants Sq for a device as a precaution. A small section of the square is currently cordoned off to the public.”

The city also sent out a news release informing people of the search due to the heat sensor alarm that went off.

“Given the events of last week and out of an abundance of caution, the area has been evacuated,” the release said. “The area is being thoroughly inspected as a precautionary measure.”


Smith can be reached by phone at 757-510-1663 or on Twitter at @hillarysmith21.

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