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Officials try to figure out reason for burning backpack across from Capitol

Authorities are still trying to figure out why a burning backpack was hanging from a tree across the street from the State Capitol in Madison.

A postal carrier put out the small fire Tuesday afternoon but police investigators said they found something suspicious in the backpack.

They had the Dane County Bomb Squad check it out and in the process people downtown heard two large booms.

Traffic on the Capitol Square was closed as a precaution, and all but one connecting street were reopened by mid-evening.

Madison Police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the backpack and the items in it were rendered safe. But while investigating the backpack, officers searched nearby buildings and parking ramps to check for additional items of concern.

During the incident, Capitol Police gave warnings to those working in the East Wing, where Gov. Jim Doyle's office is located.

Spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner said about 40 people kept working, and were not told to evacuate.