UPDATE, Nov. 14, 5:09 p.m. — South Main Street opened for all traffic at 5 p.m.
UPDATE, Nov. 14, 12:40 p.m. — South Main Street between East Franklin St. and Broad St. remains closed to vehicle traffic but has now reopened to foot traffic. Investigators are on the scene again today in hazmat suits, searching the suspect’s home. FBI agents are also on the scene helping to remove hazardous materials.
UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. – South Main Street between East Franklin St. and Broad St. remains closed. New York State Troopers and Village of Horseheads Police remain on the scene. Still no update on when the road will reopen or when businesses will be allowed to reopen.
UPDATE, Nov. 13, 2 p.m. — The scene in downtown Horseheads continues to be filled with law enforcement as numerous agencies can be seen around the residence of Michael Hilliard while a portion of Hanover Square remains blocked off.
An 18 News reporter at the scene has confirmed men in white hazmat suits have arrived and set up tents near the home as they continue to clean up whatever is inside the residents.
A large truck towing a metal sphere could be seen driving to and from the home, taking numerous trips. It’s unknown what the use of the container is for at this time.
According to a reporter, dozens of police and other people walked across the street and into the village hall, information is very limited at this time as the scene continues to develop.
UPDATE, Nov. 13, 11:30 p.m. — Officials with New York State Police have confirmed with 18 News that FBI teams from Quantico, Virginia, and Alabama have arrived at the scene in Horseheads to clear the location of any hazardous materials.
As of 11 a.m. Hilliard’s home on Main Street in Horseheads was still blocked off by police as teams continued to work to secure the entire scene.
In a news conference held by state police on Sunday, a question was asked to Troop E Commander Major Miklos Szoczei regarding the connection between the suspect and a U-Haul truck stopped and located in Tompkins County.
Police confirmed that there was a connection and that Hilliard was the individual arrested, but no other information was provided as to what was in the truck and why he had it.
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m. — The New York State Police announced that one man was arrested in connection to the investigation that closed part of South Main Street in Horseheads. The road will remain closed until further notice.
According to Troop E Commander Major Miklos Szoczei, Michael P. Hilliard, 43, of Horseheads, was arrested on Nov. 11 after an investigation into an incident that occurred on Monday. Szoczei said that a Veteran Highway Department employee called 911 services to a possible explosive found on Merka Road in the Town of Veteran on Nov. 6. The New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit and the FBI were called to the scene and made the explosive safe.
The state police and the FBI investigated this incident by interviewing neighbors and companies across the country. The investigation led to Hilliard becoming a suspect. He was arrested on Saturday and charged with first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class B felony. He was arraigned and taken to the Chemung County Jail, where he is currently being held.
The New York State Police and the FBI executed a search warrant on Hilliard’s South Main Street home on Sunday morning and found several hazardous materials. After finding the materials, the police closed part of South Main Street and evacuated the area. According to Szoczei, the road closure and evacuation will last until the house is clear of hazards. This could last for up to 48 hours while the investigation continues. The Red Cross and the Horseheads Fire Department are assisting the residents who were displaced by the evacuation.
Local branches of the state police and the FBI do not have the resources to remove all of the hazardous materials. Additional resources and members of the FBI are headed to the scene from Quantico and Alabama.
This investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information about the hazardous materials, the Nov. 6 incident, or Hilliard is asked to call the New York State Police at 585-398-4100.
UPDATE, 12:57 p.m. — A large police presence and the bomb squad remain at the scene of a South Main Street residence, and a portion of the road is still closed. The New York State Police told 18 News that there will be a press conference in a couple of hours.
HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) — A portion of South Main Street in Horseheads is closed due to the possible presence of hazardous materials.
According to the New York State Police, South Main Street from East Franklin Street to Broad Street was evacuated and is currently closed while the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit and Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team clears a residence at 207 South Main St. Police say there could be hazardous materials located at the residence. The residence is located across the street from Horseheads Village Hall.
The New York State Police are asking the public to stay clear of the area during the closure.
According to an 18 News Reporter at the scene, the Horseheads Police Department is blocking the roadway. Four New York State Police Department vehicles and two bomb squad trucks are at the scene.
The closure was announced at about 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, and it does not have a set end time.