CITY OF NEWBURGH - Evacuations and street closings shut down a section of Lower Broadway in the City of Newburgh for several hours after city police received a phone call Wednesday morning reporting a suspicious device had been found inside the Maple Building at 3 Washington Center.

Police responded to the lower parking garage at the Maple Building about 9:30 a.m., according to city police and City Manager Joe Donat.

The Social Security offices and other offices in the Maple Building were evacuated, as well as nearby SUNY Orange students at the Tower Building and Kaplan Hall. Classes for the day were canceled while police inspected the scene.

The area was deemed safe and streets were reopened about 1:45 p.m., after police and K9 units thoroughly checked inside and outside the evacuated area and did find any other devices.

City police said a bomb unit from the Rockland County Sheriff's Office determined the device was inert and not a danger to the public.

Donat said the bomb unit used x-ray technology to examine the contents of the device.

Donat, who saw the device, declined to describe what it looked like, but said it was clearly constructed to look authentic and that just the sight of it prompted an immediate, serious response from city fire and police and other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"It appears as though, at this time, this device was meant to scare the general public," Donat said Wednesday afternoon. "... It was meant to bring about the response that it did, and it appears the placement was intentional."

Police said the device was taken by the City of Newburgh crime scene unit for further processing, and the department is actively investigating how it made it into the parking garage.

A block away, at the Newburgh Free Library on Grand Street, filming continued unimpeded for Mark Ruffalo's upcoming HBO limited series, "I Know This Much Is True," based on a Wally Lamb novel of the same name. Ruffalo spent the day filming an important scene in the film series where his character cuts his hand off in a public library.

lbellamy@th-record.com