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Bomb threat closes Niagara County Courthouse

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Courthouse in Lockport was closed and streets around the building were blocked off by police after a bomb threat was phoned to the County Court office shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday.

The building was evacuated and court officers called in the Lockport Fire Department and area police agencies. Bomb-sniffing dogs from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the State Police checked the building and found no explosives, while Lockport firefighters checked the cars in the parking lot with the same result.

Police said the caller simply said there was a bomb in the building and hung up. County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III already was on the bench for his afternoon session when the fire alarm sounded, but no one moved to leave. After dispensing with his first case quickly, Murphy said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting out of here,” and left the bench.

The building was declared clear shortly after 4 p.m., but all court cases for the day already had been canceled and will be rescheduled. Other nearby county-owned buildings were not evacuated.