UPDATE (1:45 p.m.)—The Harford County Health Department was evacuated Wednesday after a health department employee received a bomb threat.
Employees were allowed to return to the building shortly after 1 p.m.
"Right now it's under investigation," Bel Air Deputy Police Chief Rick Peschek said as employees returned to the building.
Around 11:29 a.m. an employee of the health department, located at 120 S. Hays Street, received a bomb threat, according to Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola.
"They elected to evacuate the building," Matrangola said.
Police blocked off a two block radius surrounding the building, blocking off traffic on Hays Street, Thomas Street and Churchville Road Extended, Matrangola said.
Around 12:20 p.m., Matrangola said members of the Maryland State Fire Marshals office were on the way to the scene and would direct the search. A bomb sniffing dog from Maryland State Police was also called to the scene.
Peschek explained an item that was inside the building caused law enforcement particular concern. The item was apparently left behind by accident, police later learned.
"Our response was heightened because an item was up there," Peschek said.
Employees and bystanders told Patch police returned a back pack to a young man shortly before giving the all clear signal. The young man then left the area.
Karen Platt, a health department employee, was outside with her coworkers watching the situation unfold.
"They kept telling us to get further and further away," Platt said.
Two other women were halfway through their first day working at the health department office when the bomb threat was called in.
Platt said at one point, employees from the Mary Resteau State Office Building, which houses Harford County District Court, joined her and her coworkers on the street.
"Ironically the fire alarm went off at the same time over at District Court, so that added to the confusion" Matrangola said.
He said there was no indication of anything suspicious surrounding the fire alarm at Harford County District Court. The two incidents do not appear to be related.
The Harford County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene, Matrangola said.
Stick with Patch for updates.