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Suspicious Package At 1906 SF Quake Commemoration Forces Relocation

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People gathered at Union Square in San Francisco to commemorate the 107th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire, April 18, 2013. (CBS)

People gathered at Union Square in San Francisco to commemorate the 107th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire, April 18, 2013. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A suspicious package near the site of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake commemoration ceremony on Market St. Thursday morning forced an early-morning gathering of a couple of hundred people to move to Union Square, police said.

Plans for the commemorative event—typically held at Lotta’s Fountain at Market and Kearny streets—were shaken up when a suspicious package was found just before 3 a.m. near Third and Market streets. The gathering was moved.

Police later determined the package was harmless.

Event publicist Lee Houskeeper said the early morning commemoration included Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Police Chief Greg Suhr, Mayor Ed Lee, and supervisors London Breed, David Chiu and Scott Wiener.

All went smoothly at the makeshift location, even without a sound system, he said.

“We had the same program that we would have had at Lotta’s Fountain,” Houskeeper said.

This year, the three known remaining earthquake survivors—Bill Del Monte, 107; Winnie Hook, 107; and Ruth Newman, 111 — were not able to make it to the early morning ceremony because of health concerns, Houskeeper said.

A moment of silence was observed at 5:12 a.m. to remember the thousands who perished in the destruction, followed by sirens blaring and a live band with trumpets playing San Francisco-themed songs during which Mayor Lee chimed in, according to Houskeeper.

Another event was held around 6:30 a.m. at the fire hydrant at 20th and Church streets at Dolores Park, which, lore has it, helped save the Mission District after the quake.

The hydrant this morning was sprayed with traditional gold paint, Houskeeper said.

A breakfast followed, at Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant on Geary Street.

Although the survivors did not make it to the early morning memorial events, Del Monte was able to attend an annual survivor’s dinner Wednesday evening at John’s Grill on Ellis Street.

KCBS, KPIX 5 and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier reports that Thursday morning’s police response to the bomb scare could be a preview of the security measures people will face at a number of high-profile public events in San Francisco.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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plans for the commemorative event—typically held at

Lotta’s Fountain at Market and Kearny streets—were shaken up when a suspicious package was found just before 3 a.m. near Third and Market streets. The gathering was moved to Union Square.

Police have since determined the package was harmless.

Event publicist Lee Houskeeper said the early morning

commemoration included Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Police Chief Greg Suhr, Mayor Ed Lee, and supervisors London Breed, David Chiu and Scott Wiener.

All went smoothly at the makeshift location, even without a sound system, he said.

“We had the same program that we would have had at Lotta’s Fountain,” Houskeeper said.

This year, the three known remaining earthquake survivors—Bill Del Monte, 107; Winnie Hook, 107; and Ruth Newman, 111 — were not able to make it to the early morning ceremony because of health concerns, Houskeeper said.

A moment of silence was observed at 5:12 a.m. to remember the thousands who perished in the destruction, followed by sirens blaring and a live band with trumpets playing San Francisco-themed songs during which Mayor Lee chimed in, according to Houskeeper.

Another event was held around 6:30 a.m. at the fire hydrant at 20th and Church streets at Dolores Park, which, lore has it, helped save the Mission District after the quake.

The hydrant this morning was sprayed with traditional gold paint, Houskeeper said.

A breakfast followed, at Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant on Geary Street.

Although the survivors did not make it to the early morning memorial events, Del Monte was able to attend an annual survivor’s dinner Wednesday evening at John’s Grill on Ellis Street.

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