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A bomb squad and hazardous-materials team shut access to a Hilton Head Island neighborhood for several hours early Thursday after a backpack containing unidentified chemicals was discovered.
The suspicious bag found on Island Drive was deemed safe by the afternoon, and residents of Old Woodlands Plantation were allowed in and out of their neighborhood. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office declined to identify the contents of the bag Thursday.
At about 10:15 a.m. Thursday, an Old Woodlands resident reported that the backpack had been on the ground in a common area of the neighborhood since Wednesday morning, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The resident peeked inside Thursday and found various chemicals and other materials and called authorities. Deputies quickly cordoned off the area and shut down Island Drive, which intersects Mathews Drive. The Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad sent out a robot to retrieve and probe the bag, said Sgt. Robin McIntosh.
The bomb squad determined that the contents of the bag were safe and left the scene by early afternoon. Deputies reopened Island Drive but limited access to Old Woodlands and surrounding businesses.
The Hilton Head/Bluffton HazMat team remained throughout Thursday afternoon to make sure there was no further public health risk and to collect samples of the bag's contents for testing, McIntosh said. The team stayed until about 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
"They stayed on scene to make sure nothing is considered hazardous," McIntosh said.
The Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division also supervised the scene. The division also declined to release any information on the contents of the bag.