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Multiple agencies participate in bomb drill at UTA station

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Posted at 6:32 PM, May 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-08 20:32:20-04

MURRAY, Utah -- It was a normal day for travelers at the UTA Murray Station. But on the other side of the tracks law enforcement personnel were practicing for what could be their worst nightmare.

The drill started when a bomb exploded inside a train, injuring hundreds of people.

“This is about as real as it gets,” said Rufus Tolbert, who is an officer with the UTA Police Department.

Local high school drama students were acting as passengers inside, pretending to be wounded.

“Victims had different scales of their injuries from losing limbs to actual fatalities,” Tolbert said.

Some officers helped the injured while others searched for the bomber. The drill put emergency plans and equipment to the test.

“Training it helps us to understand what we're doing right, what we`re doing wrong, and how we can be more efficient, but also how we can work out the kinks,” Tolbert said.

More than a dozen agencies practiced working together.

“These types of unusual events grow, and as they grow we need more man power," said Pat Killion, Deputy Fire Marshall in Murray. "Man power is only effective if you've worked together before and you know how we operate.”

There was a bomb threat called in last week for this exact spot, and even though it turned out to be nothing, officials said if it ever is real, they'll be ready.

“Bad things happen to good people," Killion said. "We need to observe. We need to think. We need to understand that this can happen."

But not all the action was at the station. Victims were taken to Intermountain Medical Center, where officials handled concerned family members.

“It's the first time we've set up a family assistant center, but it's received national attention from other transit agencies here,” said Dave Goeres, Chief Safety Officer for UTA.

The drill is the biggest of its kind in Utah.

“I feel like today went great, they threw a couple of twists in it for us which is always interesting, but they're very real and can certainly happen,” Killion said.