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South Austin Explosion An Incendiary Device, 'No Reason' To Believe Related To Package Bombs

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune
Sign on the traffic divider beneath the Lamar Blvd. railroad bridge in South Austin reads, "Austin is a bomb free zone," on Tuesday afternoon, March 20, 2018.

After initially reporting a package explosion in South Austin on Tuesday evening, authorities later said the incident involved an incendiary device rather than a bomb and may not be connected to previous explosions in the Austin area since early March.


One man in his 30s was seriously injured in the incident, Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted.

Earlier Tuesday, a bomb exploded inside a package destined for Austin in a FedEx facility in Schertz, outside San Antonio, causing no injuries. Another bomb was found at a separate FedEx facility but didn't explode. 

Tuesday evening's incident comes as authorities appeared to be following up on some leads in the case. 

On Tuesday afternoon in Sunset Valley — a town contained within with Austin's city limits — authorities issued a public notice that the FBI was investigating "a confirmed link between packages involved in the Austin bombing investigation and a mail delivery office in Sunset Valley." And FedEx said in a statement that it had turned over to authorities "extensive evidence" related to the packages and the person who mailed them. 

In a statement Tuesday evening, Special Agent Michelle Lee with the San Antonio FBI confirmed that there's a connection between the two packages found at FedEx locations today and the four previous package explosions that occurred in Austin. 

"We do believe that these incidents are all related. That is because of the specific contents of these devices," said Brian Manley, Austin's interim police chief, according to media accounts. 

In all, the explosions have left two dead and several others injured this month. 

Officials are offering a $115,000 award for information that leads to the arrest of the person or people responsible. Gov. Greg Abbott also released $265,500 in emergency funding on Monday for Austin police to buy seven bomb-detecting x-ray systems.

“I want to ensure everyone in the Austin region and the entire state that Texas is committed to providing every resource necessary to make sure these crimes are solved as quickly as possible,” Abbott said in a statement.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Alex Samuels is a reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune and a journalism senior at The University of Texas at Austin. She came to the Tribune in fall 2016 as a newsletters fellow, writing the daily Brief and contributing to the water, education and health newsletters. Alex previously worked for USA Today College as both a collegiate correspondent and their first-ever breaking news correspondent. She has also worked for the Daily Dot where she covered politics, race, and social issues.