Smoking Backpack Left on Burbank Blvd. Bridge Locks Area Down for Hours

Los Angeles County Sheriff Bomb/ Explosives Technician works with the suspicious smoking package. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

An unattended backpack discovered near an Interstate 5 freeway off-ramp caught fire and burned after being examined by arson and explosive investigators. The incident, which occurred on July 7, 2023, around 1:30 p.m., prompted road closures and a thorough investigation by law enforcement.

According to a statement released by the Burbank Police Department, they received a call from a concerned passerby who reported an unattended backpack emitting smoke on the Burbank Boulevard overpass. In response, the Burbank Police and Fire Departments swiftly arrived at the scene, locating the backpack on the south sidewalk of Burbank Boulevard, near the northbound Interstate 5 freeway off-ramp. Officers observed smoke emanating from within the backpack.

Given the high volume of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the vicinity and the unknown contents of the backpack, the Burbank Police Department, in cooperation with the California Highway Patrol, decided to close the overpass and the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Burbank.

Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson and Explosives Detail promptly arrived at the scene to assess the situation. After an initial examination, they proceeded with a closer inspection. Unexpectedly, during this examination, the backpack caught fire and burned completely. The investigators have not yet determined the exact nature of the contents contained within the backpack.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Following the investigation, all road and freeway closures were lifted, and normal traffic flow was restored in the area. Fortunately, no injuries were reported as a result of this incident.

The origin of the backpack and how it ended up on the freeway overpass remain subjects of investigation by the authorities. The Burbank Police Department is actively pursuing leads and gathering evidence to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Authorities are taking this opportunity to remind members of the community to remain vigilant and exercise caution. In the event of encountering any suspicious or unknown items, it is crucial not to touch, move, or handle them. Instead, individuals are advised to immediately notify local law enforcement agencies.

As the investigation progresses, further updates will be provided by the authorities involved.

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