10/13/09 — Terror drill -- practicing for emergency

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Terror drill -- practicing for emergency

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 13, 2009 1:46 PM

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Members of the Goldsboro Police Department Emergency Response Team break through the back door of 622 Isler St., the home of a suspected terrorist cell, during Orbit Comet, a Major Accident Response Exercise, this morning. Shortly after the team entered the home, they found bomb-making materials and a map of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, which prompted the officers to call for back up from the 4th Fighter Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal detail.

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A 4th Fighter Wing robot makes its way into the house on Isler Street to check for threats associated with bomb-making materials found inside by Goldsboro police officers.

Goldsboro police Capt. Al King brought a radio up to his mouth at just after 7 a.m.

"You can roll," he said to the Emergency Response Team on the other end of the line.

Within minutes, the men were creeping through the woods leading to a small house at 622 Isler St. -- and while one member of the team threw a flashbang near the front of the house, his fellow officers broke in the back door.

"Police. Police. Nobody move," one shouted. "We have a search warrant."

There was no one inside, but the house was far from empty.

A detailed map of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was hanging on the wall in one of the rooms.

In another, multiple guns and boxes of material marked "radioactive."

The team quickly exited the house and set up a perimeter -- calling for a backup unit located just down Elm Street through the Seymour Johnson gates.

The remaining work inside the house was to be left for investigators and members of the 4th Fighter Explosive Ordnance Disposal detail.

Orbit Comet, a Major Accident Response Exercise designed to test the skills of base personnel, and those entities they work with across Goldsboro, Wayne County and the state, began this morning on Isler Street.

The exercise will continue for the next two days as responders look to fine-tune their procedures in the event a real crisis takes place in the future.

King said this morning's scenario focused on terrorism.

Police were tipped off that a terrorist cell was operating out of that house on Isler.

And when his ER team got inside, it was clear the information they had received was accurate.

Shortly after the police department forced its way inside, members of the 4th EOD were on the scene.

And just before press time, their robot -- used in war theaters to detonate Improvised Explosive Devices -- had moved, via remote control, down the street and inside the home to investigate.

Wednesday's scenario will unfold inside the Seymour Johnson gates.