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Ohio blast traced to construction project, not security threat

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A blast that shook police headquarters in Ohio's capital city of Columbus was traced to a construction-related battery malfunction in the lobby, and was not a security threat, police said on Wednesday.

The headquarters in downtown Columbus was evacuated around 7:45 p.m. ET (11:45 GMT) on Tuesday, after a loud bang that sounded like an explosion shook the walls.

Police spokesman Sergeant Rich Weiner said the noise was the result of a battery malfunction on an elevator used in a construction project.

A SWAT team and the Columbus bomb squad conducted a floor-to-floor search and personnel were allowed back into the building by early on Wednesday.

"It was difficult to find where the sound had occurred because the equipment was blocked off by a pillar," Weiner said.

Early reports by local media that a suspicious person was seen throwing something into the sewer outside of the police headquarters, have been dismissed, Weiner said.

The headquarters was back to normal operations on Wednesday, he said.

(Reporting By Kim Palmer; Editing by Greg McCune and Gunna Dickson)

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