CLEARWATER — Two bomb scares in less than a week at area Morton Plant Mease hospitals appear to be unrelated, officials say, but will nonetheless prompt heightened security across the chain over the next few days.
A suspicious cylindrical object was discovered Monday morning near the ambulance port at Morton Plant Hospital's emergency room, 323 Jeffords St. in Clearwater.
The hospital wasn't evacuated, but officials say incoming ambulances were diverted to another door.
Bomb squad units eventually determined that the roughly 8-inch-long metal pipe was harmless.
Monday's incident came just four days after a suspicious plastic bottle at Mease Dunedin Hospital, 601 Main St., forced a bomb squad to respond.
"For the next few days, we are going to be more observant and more vigilant," said Morton Plant Mease spokeswoman Beth Hardy.
But a different set of circumstances surrounding each incident has led officials to believe that the cases are unrelated, she said.
Hardy declined to discuss specifics.
Brian Spegele can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4154.