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FBI toll-free number plays 911 tape warning of Olympic Park bombing

February 6, 1997 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) _ Federal agents have a new ``888″ toll-free number to let the public hear the voice of the man who called 911 to warn about the bomb in Centennial Olympic Park. But the business who has the same number, with an 800 area code, is less than thrilled.

The audio tape of the 911 call placed just before the fatal July 27 blast can be heard by calling 1-888-324-8404, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The calm, slow voice of a man is heard saying, ``There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes.″

Martin VanMeter, owner of a Durant, Okla., real estate company, said he was forced to disconnect his 1-800-324-8404 number today after being besieged by calls. Apparently, many people are still more used to 800 numbers than the newer 888 numbers, first issued last year.

``I’m aggravated,″ VanMeter said this morning. ``We couldn’t even use our phones this morning.″

The FBI first released the 13-second 911 tape and announced a $500,000 reward for information at a Dec. 9 news conference seeking tips to help advance the bombing probe.

Investigators have since received nearly 5,000 photos and hundreds of videotapes from people who were in or near the park the night of the bombing, Woody Johnson, FBI agent in charge of the Atlanta office, said in a statement Wednesday. Investigators also have conducted more than 4,000 interviews, he said.

The 40-pound pipe bomb exploded around 1:20 a.m., killing one person and injuring more than 100 others. Johnson called the device ``enormous″ and said it was ``possibly the largest ever detonated in the country.″

Details about the pipe bomb and the investigation have been slow to emerge, and no arrests have been made. The only suspect ever named publicly in the bombing, Richard Jewell, was cleared by federal prosecutors in October.

Last week, television and newspaper reports said investigators from Atlanta had been in Spokane, Wash., to compare evidence from the Atlanta bombing with evidence from three bomb blasts in the Spokane Valley last year. FBI officials have declined to comment on those reports.