When a janitor was cleaning a restroom at a Miami International Airport check-in area over the weekend, something caught her eye.
She thought she saw a war-zone explosive device. So she rushed to an airport official, who wasted no time in calling the cops.
Within minutes, bomb squad officers and K-9 units flooded Concourse J — where international flights abound — as employees and passengers were swiftly evacuated. Parts of surrounding terminals were also emptied, said Miami-Dade police spokesman Lee Cowart.
What set off the big scare on Saturday night?
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A toy grenade. The janitor took no chances that it was fake.
“Yes, like the grenades you see in the cartoons,” Cowart told the Miami Herald. “But you have to understand, when something that had the potential to end another way ends like this, you realize tonight is a good night.”
In less than two hours, the airport was given the all-clear with only a handful of flights delayed. The incident, which was reported around 8 p.m., was over by 9:30.
“It is still unclear who placed the suspicious item there but it is under investigation,” Cowart said. “We’re very happy this was a false alarm. We want people to keep saying something when they see something.”
This isn’t the first time MIA has gone into emergency mode.
Two weeks ago, the Herald obtained exclusive video showing a man making it through security in Concourse D, jumping onto a luggage carousel, and sprinting onto the tarmac. The man strolled past an American Airlines ticket counter and dove into a luggage conveyor belt.
Late last month, a man was taken into custody after getting in an altercation with a federal officer outside Concourse D.
And in early September, a man with a knife was shot by a Miami-Dade police officer after he got onto the tarmac, entered a secured room and then confronted an officer in Concourse J.