Pressure cooker in bathroom causes Dearborn hotel evacuation

May 28, 2013 at 1:00 am

Pressure cooker in bathroom causes Dearborn hotel evacuation

  • The Detroit News

Dearborn — A Dearborn hotel was evacuated for a few hours Sunday night after a woman found a pressure cooker in a bathroom during a Muslim conference on faith.

The cooker was discovered on the second floor of the Adoba Hotel about 9:45 p.m., prompting Dearborn police to detonate it as a precaution. It did not contain explosives, Dearborn police said.

Two witnesses told The Detroit News police evacuated at least three floors of the hotel once known as the Hyatt Regency. Among them were guests of a wedding and attendees of the Conference of Ali, a three-day conference by the Universal Muslim Association of America.

As they waited outside, conference attendees chanted religious messages and read poetry in Urdu, according to two witnesses and photos on Twitter.

They were allowed to return to their rooms about 1 a.m.

“Our investigation is ongoing and we do not have a suspect or a motive at this time,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said in a statement.

Hotel officials would say only that they cooperated with police.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he doesn’t believe conference attendees placed the cooker.

“It’s very odd that someone would leave an empty pressure cooker in a women’s bathroom at an Islamic conference that attracted people from throughout the country,” he said Monday. “I highly doubt it was a participant in the conference. … My visceral reaction was this was someone trying to play a prank or intimidate the Muslim community.”

The incident is the latest involving a pressure cooker to raise alarms after the cooking devices were used to pack explosives during a terror attack at the Boston Marathon last month that killed three people and injured 264.

Two weeks ago, a Saudi Arabian traveler, Hussain Al Khawahir, 33, was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after officials discovered a pressure cooker in his luggage. Court records indicate the man told Customs officers he was bringing it to a nephew at the University of Toledo because the devices aren’t sold in the United States, but later changed his story and said he brought the device because the nephew’s cooker was broken.

His nephew told the Associated Press the incident was a misunderstanding.

Al Khawahir is charged with using an altered passport and lying to a Customs officer.

A Saudi Arabian newspaper, Okaz, also reported this month that a Michigan college student, Talal Al Rooqi, was warned by police after a neighbor saw him using a pressure cooker to bring rice to a friend’s house for dinner.

Walud said he fears the Boston tragedy is prompting “hysteria” about pressure cookers that are commonly used to cook many cuisines.

From The Detroit News:

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