WATERVILLE — Emergency officials responded quickly Thursday to a reported bomb threat at Kennebec Behavioral Health, only to learn moments later that it was a drill.

The drill was coordinated by KBH, which did not notify police and fire officials that it was taking place.

“It was an oversight on their part,” fire Capt. Michael Michaud said afterward. “It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t malicious, by any means.”

Fire officials responded to KBH on Eustis Parkway just before 9 a.m. after a fire alarm there was activated, alerting the city.

Michaud said when he and others arrived, someone at KBH said there had been a bomb threat there.

“Then we found out it was a drill for a bomb threat,” Michaud said.


He said someone who was supposed to call the city to notify officials there that it was a drill forgot to call.

Between the time Michaud was told it was a bomb threat and the time he was notified it was only a drill, he alerted the Police Department, which dispatched officers to KBH.

“When a call comes in for a bomb threat, that’s a high priority for us,” Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey said. “Police initiated an emergency response but were called off prior to arrival.”

Two fire engines with 10 firefighters responded to KBH, Michaud said. Four firefighters were already on duty at the station and two other career firefighters and four call firefighters also responded, he said.

The financial cost of the response was unclear. Michaud said the four firefighters on duty were being paid anyway, and he did not have an estimate of the cost for the six other firefighters who responded.

Rumsey said there was no direct cost to police, but officers had to stop the jobs they were on to start heading to the scene.


He said there are inherent dangers in police having to respond to such a report with their cruiser lights and sirens on.

George Myers Jr., director of communications and community outreach at KBH, said agency officials regret any concerns that KBH might have caused clients, staff or neighbors by the false alarm, and they feel bad that it accidentally brought firefighters and police out on Thursday.

“KBH is required, through our accreditation, to have a variety of safety protocols in place in which we periodically test staff response at our properties by quick-response drills. Today we inadvertently failed to let the Waterville Fire Department know that we were running one of those drills. We’re adjusting our drill procedures so it doesn’t again happen.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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