“All Clear” at Simmons after False Alarm about an Active Shooter

Were popped balloons to blame for the panic?

Photo provided by Simmons College

A report of an active shooter at Simmons College was quickly called off on Thursday as authorities issued an “all clear” in the area.

The school warned students via emergency text message after 2:30 p.m. to avoid the area or remain barricaded indoors while police descended on the school’s Fenway campus. Other area schools, including Northeastern, MassArt, and Emmanuel, also warned students of a possible incident before the all-clear came through.

Simmons said in a follow-up statement that a student reported the sound of gunfire to police at around 2:36 p.m., but authorities do not believe any shots were actually fired.

There were early and unconfirmed reports that the panic may have been caused by the sound of popping balloons, which were mistaken for gunshots—at least, that’s what police were saying to one another on their scanner, listeners said in several tweets.