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Fake Bomb Starts Off Portland Counterterrorism Exercise

A fake radioactive bomb went off in Portland Tuesday as part of the largest counterterrorism exercise the nation has ever seen. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.

The imitation bomb was detonated at Portland International Raceway, where officials staged a scene with a dozen smashed cars, railroad tracks and twisted wreckage.

About 200 actors conjured up the mayhem of a real-life attack. Officials in Arizona and the territory of Guam are running concurrent simulations.

Patty Hopkins, of Portland’s office of Emergency Management, spoke after the blast.

Patty Hopkins: “Right now, they’re out there, they’re starting to grab the victims, they’re starting to pull them back. They’re triaging them. The hazardous materials teams are doing plumes to see where the fall-out may be going. The police have their bomb squad there, they’re looking for secondary devices.”

Counter-terrorism exercises are credited with streamlining responses to real emergencies, but some criticize them for being too scripted, and not involving a panicked public.

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