Bomb scare stirs up Del Mar on Friday
By Claire Harlin
L’Auberge Del Mar, located at 1540 Camino Del Mar, was evacuated and streets were shut down for about five hours on Friday night, Sept. 2, following a bomb threat at the resort hotel.
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said a call came in to L’Auberge just before 4 p.m. on Sept. 2 warning that a bomb would go off in two hours. As of 8 p.m. on Friday, Caldwell said there were no suspects, and she declined to provide more details about the call other than that the caller seemed to be male.
Sheriff’s authorities arrived and the hotel had already begun self-evacuation, with hotel guests and employees flooding into the streets, the beach and Seagrove Park.
Harbor Police — the only nearby authorities equipped with bomb-sniffing dogs, Caldwell said — underwent an hours-long search and investigation of the hotel.
“Unless we hear a loud noise, all is well,” Caldwell said around 8 p.m., as the search continued. No explosives were found.
During the investigation, authorities blocked off Camino Del Mar for several blocks surrounding L’Auberge, with many people unable to get to their homes or places of interest.
Caldwell said train traffic was also stopped for the duration of the investigation.
Some hotel guests milled around local businesses and some packed into Seagrove Park with many L’Auberge employees. Evacuees were later moved to the Powerhouse Community Center, where L’Auberge management brought in more than 30 pizzas, served guests coffee and tended to needs.
Donald and Susan Gold were two of several hotel guests at the Powerhouse who were still wearing towels and swimsuits throughout the ordeal. The couple said they were interrupted during an afternoon swim, and weren’t able to grab any belongings.
“I thought it was just a fire drill at first,” said Donald Gold, who was visiting from Los Angeles. “I had no idea it would take this long. When the helicopters started arriving I knew it was more serious.”
Del Mar resident Ben Garner was at the beach when he noticed helicopters flying very low in the late afternoon. He said helicopter authorities spoke over a loud microphone, warning people at or heading to the hotel to move toward the water.
Hotel guests were allowed to return to their rooms shortly after 9 p.m.
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