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Suspicious package explodes at Northeastern University, staff member injured

The Boston Police Department’s bomb squad responded to Northeastern University, where a package delivered to Holmes Hall exploded, injuring a staff member.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

A staff member at Northeastern University was injured Tuesday evening after a package delivered to an academic building exploded when it was opened, according to Boston police and university officials.

The employee, a 45-year-old man, was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries to his hand, officials said.

The package was delivered to Holmes Hall, located at 39 Leon St., where Boston police, fire, and emergency services responded shortly after 7 p.m., officials said.

A second, similar package was also received on campus but was determined to be safe, Boston police said.

The staff member’s condition was not known Tuesday night. No students were injured in the incident, which prompted the evacuation of several university buildings on Leon Street, including dormitories.


The campus was secure, even as investigators including representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, remained on the scene late into the night.

Police Commissioner Michael Cox said the department was working “with all of our law enforcement partners,” including the FBI and ATF.

“We are going to continue to work with all of campus security partners to make sure all the students here are safe as well as residents of the city,” Cox said at a news briefing.

He advised residents who see anything amiss around the campus or in their neighborhood to “say something” by contacting police or dialing 911.

Cox thanked multiple agencies for their quick response to the scene, including Boston fire and EMS, who helped to evacuate buildings, he said.

The investigation is ongoing, Cox said.

Michael Davis, chief of the Northeastern University police, said his department “responded within a minute.”

“It’s very important to note that our campus is secured,” he said at the news briefing. “We’ll be working with our [law enforcement] partners to get this resolved.”

Mayor Michelle Wu, speaking at the briefing, lauded the “incredible effort” of first responders to make sure “everyone throughout this school community was safe.”


In a statement, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said his office is “ready to work with the university and our law enforcement partners on any prosecutions that may develop.”

Emergency vehicles swarmed the area, and a portion of the private university’s West Campus was blocked off by police. Alarm bells were sounding from several buildings as students gathered to watch the scene from behind yellow caution tape.

Holmes Hall is located between Lake and Meserve halls. All three buildings house various academic spaces and departments, including journalism and the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies programs.

At 7:56 p.m., Boston EMS tweeted that one patient had been taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Police and fire investigators remained on the scene for much of Tuesday evening.

An alert sent to Northeastern students urged them to avoid the area during the investigation.

University officials later announced that evening classes in several surrounding buildings would be canceled, citing the ongoing investigation. Classes will resume on Wednesday, the campus said in a late night alert.

“At this time, we expect the campus to be open and fully operational tomorrow,” the alert said.

The large emergency response at Northeastern prompted other Boston-area colleges to issue safety advisories to their students. No other explosions were reported on other campuses, officials said.

Several local colleges and universities, including Harvard and MIT, issued advisories on Tuesday evening urging students to report any suspicious packages.


Separately, around 8:30 p.m., Boston police responded to a report of a suspicious bag at the nearby Museum of Fine Arts, according to Officer Andre Watson, a department spokesman.

The bag was deemed “non-explosive” in nature, and police had cleared the scene by 9:45 p.m., Watson said.

Northeastern University buildings on Leon Street were evacuated Tuesday night after a package delivered to Holmes Hall exploded, injuring an employee, authorities said. Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe