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No threat found after bomb squad called to GFAFB

Area law enforcement officials direct traffic near the commercial gate of the Grand Forks Air Force Base Monday. The west gate remained closed until further notice. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Updated 6:48 p.m.

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE — The Grand Forks Regional Bomb Squad was called out here Monday morning after a security dog raised the alarm on a truck entering the base.

Security forces closed the gate used by commercial vehicles for nearly three hours to allow for a more in-depth search while area law enforcement officials monitored traffic along U.S. Highway 2.

“A dog sat down, indicating the possible presence of something. Explosives are the potential,” said Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney, a spokesman for the 319th Air Base Wing’s Public Affairs Office.

The truck was moved to a protective building, where a tactical unit from the bomb squad helped in the investigation.

Ultimately no threat was found and the incident was resolved with no property damage, injuries or arrests, according to Dobrydney.

The commercial gate was closed at about 7:45 a.m. and reopened at about 11:30 a.m. Officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, state Highway Patrol and Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department, provided traffic control during that time.

As the search continued Monday, several vehicles, including a restaurant-supply delivery van and about a half dozen trucks used in construction, waited along a gravel road directly across the highway from the gate.

There have been at least two incidents since 2000 in which security concerns forced the closure of base gates, one in 2004 and another in 2001, but Dobrydney said he could not recall any similar incident in recent years.

In the 2004 incident, a dog raised the alarm on ammonium nitrate found in a vehicle carrying fertilizer. While ammonium nitrate also is used to make explosives, base officials at the time determined the fertilizer was not a threat.

The 2001 incident also was a false alarm.

Officials did not release information Monday on what, if any, materials were found that may have prompted the dog’s alert.

Kevin Bonham

Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: He welcomes story ideas via email,, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  

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