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RI bomb squad responds to about 300 calls a year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As investigators work to prove a New Jersey man set off two explosives last weekend in Manhattan and New Jersey, the bomb squad here in Rhode Island continues working to make sure residents are safe.

The bomb squad, led by state Fire Marshal Jack Chartier, responds to about 300 calls a year. Just the other day, it was called to a backpack strapped to a light pole in North Kingstown, which fortunately turned out to be just full of clothes.

Chartier said his group uses robots similar to the one used to explode a suspicious package in Oklahoma earlier this year and the one used to remove a suspicious vest from a suspect in Utah.

“We’re very well-equipped and we meet all the national guidelines set by the FBI,” he said.

According to Chartier, bomb squads across the country all train with the FBI in Alabama and all procedures are standard.

The Rhode Island Bomb Squad is made up of members of the fire marshal’s office and police officers. Chartier wouldn’t say how many people work in his unit, but stated that it’s currently understaffed.

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