San Francisco evacuated people and vehicles out of the area of Union Square right before noon on Thursday. An abandoned backpack in the upscale tourist plaza was cause for concern for authorities, according to Reuters on Oct. 17.
Preparations for the Nike Women’s Marathon were going on at the time of the evacuation. With the Boston Marathon bombings still fresh in everyone’s mind, the airing on the side of caution and evacuating such a large area for one backpack is understandable.
Information on the owner of the backpack, the contents of the backpack or why the backpack was left behind has not been released by the authorities at this time.
The 2.6 acre plaza was closed for police to complete their investigation, but the “all-clear” notice was issued at 1:45 p.m. and the square was evacuated at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday morning. Along with pedestrians, vehicles were also kept out of the area.
The backpack was discovered near Powell and Stockton streets. The two-hour evacuation played havoc with mass transit as the San Francisco Municipal Railway Service was closed in that area, stopping the trains as well as the buses and street cars. After two hours everything was back to normal.