Suspicious item near SF City Hall

March 4, 2009 9:53:46 PM PST
San Francisco police, fire, bomb squad and hazardous materials personnel spent hours investigating what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail near City Hall today before determining the item did not pose a threat, a police sergeant said.

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Around 4:15 p.m., police received reports of a bottle with rags hanging from the side -- the same description used for Molotov cocktails, according to San Francisco police Sgt. Wilfred Williams.

Molotov cocktails are bottles filled with gasoline or another substance, stuffed with a rag, sealed shut, and lit on fire. The bottle is then thrown, flaming, at its target, Williams said.

The bottle was reported near a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus stop at Van Ness Avenue and Grove Street near City Hall, according to Williams.

Police closed northbound Van Ness Avenue at Hayes Street, and Grove Street at Polk Street, while a bomb squad investigated the suspicious item.

The item was deemed safe several hours later and the scene was cleared by around 7:45 p.m., Williams said.

The next step is for the arson task force to assess the item, according to Williams.

Williams said it remains under investigation whether the suspicious item was related to a march today against Proposition 8 that ended in a vigil in front of City Hall.

Service to San Francisco Municipal Railway bus lines 47-Van Ness and 49-Van Ness/Mission was disrupted while the bomb squad was investigating the item, according to Muni spokesman Judson True.

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