By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — The J. Michael Ruane Courthouse was evacuated for roughly two hours yesterday because of a bomb threat.
Authorities responded to the Federal Street building just after 9 a.m. Officers found nothing suspicious, and the building was reopened.
Crowds of employees and people who were at the building for court proceedings stood around Federal Street while the building was closed. About 20 prisoners were relocated to the Salem Police Station during the incident, Salem police said.
The courthouse received a bomb threat via phone around 9:15 a.m., authorities said.
The Salem Police and Fire departments, Massachusetts State Police from the Danvers barracks, and a state police bomb squad and canines responded. Officials said the building was thoroughly searched.
The building was cleared and reopened at 10:58 a.m., according to the State Police office of media relations.
The incident is under investigation by Salem police Detective Eric Connolly.