msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/15/2010 10:11:43 AM ET 2010-12-15T15:11:43

Authorities shut down the subway station at the Pentagon and diverted hundreds of passengers in frigid temperatures early Wednesday while investigating a suspicious object that turned out to be a blinking Christmas ornament.

Trains on the Washington area Metro system were forced to bypass the huge Defense Department headquarters after the object was discovered in the station at 7:15 a.m., said Chris Layman, spokesman for the Pentagon police force.

  1. Related content
    1. Police hunt shooter after bullets hit Pentagon
    2. Pentagon gunman had history of mental illness

"Someone spotted some lights that were was blinking in a trash can," Layman said. "We took it seriously, it was called a 'suspicious object' and they came and x-rayed and inspected the item."

Trains were forced to pass through the station without stopping, meaning passengers had to get off at a different station and walk, or take a bus back, to the building.

The Pentagon is also a major transit point for a number of area buses, and people lined up by the hundreds as police investigated.

Some 16,000 commuters use the Pentagon station, which is part of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Reuters reported.

"We determined it was a battery-operated Christmas ornament," Layman said.

An "all clear" was issued at 8:44 a.m.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments