Hays County area emergency officials urge caution in wake of Austin bombings

With Austin and its surrounding suburbs in flux after the recent bombings recent bombing incidents in Austin and Schertz, local officials are urging people to be vigilant.

With Austin and its surrounding suburbs in flux after the recent bombings recent bombing incidents in Austin and Schertz, local officials are urging people to be vigilant.

With Austin and its surrounding suburbs in flux after the recent bombing incidents in Austin and Schertz, local officials are urging people to stay vigilant.

While San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and Hays County emergency professionals urge caution, Hays County Emergency Management Coordinator Kharley Bagley Smith said the bombings should not affect Hays County.

"There is no added concern for Hays County residents," Smith said." We do ask that people use their instincts because usually, their instincts are spot on. If something feels wrong or looks out of place, it usually is. We would rather people call it in and nothing be wrong than for a person to not do anything."

The first three bombs—one of which was set off March 2 and two on March 12—were hidden inside packages and placed on specific residents’ doorsteps located in East Austin. Those bombs killed two people and injured two others.

Austin’s Interim Chief of Police Brian Manley said the fourth bomb that exploded on March 18 was placed on the side of the road and was detonated by a tripwire. Two men received non life-threatening injuries as a result.

Tuesday’s early morning explosion on a conveyor belt of a FedEx facility northeast of San Antonio and 18 miles southeast of New Braunfels was the fifth bomb to detonate in Central Texas this month.

Kyle Fire Chief Kyle Taylor advised that people should not only be aware of what packages were ordered but also what packages their family ordered.

"Be vigilant," Taylor said. "I'm not concerned now, but that could change."

The San Marcos Police Department has been monitoring the situation involving explosives attacks in the Austin area very closely, according to news release sent Tuesday.

San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp said last week, members of the city’s emergency response and emergency management leadership teams met to discuss how they have been responding to incidents involving suspicious packages in San Marcos.

"We are confident that the response protocols we set in place during that meeting are appropriate and will help to keep our employees and residents safe in the event of an actual attack," Stapp said in the release.

Since the incidents in Austin began, Buda Police Department spokesperson Brittany Tate said the department has responded to at least nine calls. Taylor said the Kyle Fire Department responds to suspicious packages calls at least 10 times a day. Bagley Smith said Hays EMS responds to about 2 to 3 calls an hour. SMPD has also responded to several calls in the past few days.

"Our officers and all law enforcement across the area are taking this very seriously and will continue to respond diligently to every report of suspicious packages," Tate said. "We are staying up to date with the current situation and will collaborate with other agencies in our area as needed."

Emergency officials recommend the following:

  • Do not approach or disturb suspicious packages, but if you find yourself close enough to one to observe it, please make note of its appearance

  • Do not use cell phones, pagers, radios or any other devices that rely on wireless communication when near a suspicious package

  • Call 9-1-1 if packages or baggages are left at the front door when you are not expecting it or left in a public space

  • Do not open, smell or taste anything if you have touched the packaged with your hands and wash your hands immediately with soap and water


Austin Managing Editor Joe Warner and Reporter Christopher Neely contributed to this report.
By Starlight Williams
Starlight Williams joined Community Impact Newspaper July 2017 after graduating Loyola University New Orleans. She spent her time covering city government, education and business news in the Buda and Kyle area. Starlight moved on from Community Impact July 2018.


MOST RECENT

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hays County reports 500 votes in first day of early voting

Education-related election items in Hays County include $443.5 million in bonds as well as city council positions, school board seats and municipal utility district directors.

Doug Wozniak, the district's director of tranportation and safety, updated officials on staff's latest vaccination plans during SMCISD's April 19 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy San Marcos CISD)
San Marcos CISD working on plan for student vaccinations

While no students at San Marcos CISD have yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, at least not as part of any district program, a plan is in the works to ramp up inoculations for that population.

Tracey Benson updated SMCISD board members virtually regarding an ongoing equity audit during an April 19 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy San Marcos CISD)
Recommendations coming to San Marcos CISD regarding ongoing racial equity audit

Officials and staff at San Marcos CISD will soon hear a report based on the findings of an anti-racist consulting firm.

Blue Corn Harvest Leander is located at 11840 Hero Way W., Bldg. A, Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Blue Corn Harvest opens in Leander; park, pizzeria launches social club and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Jack Allen's Kitchen will be at 1345 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. (Rendering courtesy Jack Allen's Kitchen)
7 restaurants coming to Cedar Park, Leander; new murals to go up in Georgetown and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the Central Texas area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Austin FC supporters celebrate the official announcement of the team in January 2019. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
How, where to watch historic first Austin FC match April 17

Check out this list of breweries, pubs and restaurants around Central Texas that are hosting watch parties for April 17's inaugural Austin FC game.

Z'Tejas' chorizo dumplings are served on the Arboretum location's porch. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Z'Tejas to open in Avery Ranch; butcher, deli to open in Dripping Springs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The new operating rooms should be ready by the fall. (Courtesy Ascension Seton Hays)
Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle expanding with two new operating rooms

The Ascension Seton Hays hospital facility in Kyle has begun construction on two new operating rooms that will increase its capacity for complex surgeries.

Plank Seafood Provisions opened inside The Domain in late March. (Courtesy Richard Casteel)
Seafood spot opens in The Domain; All Star Liquor now serving Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.