BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The central part of the Baumholder army base was closed Thursday afternoon after a bomb-sniffing dog detected a suspicious scent during a routine inspection of the Army post office.

Traffic was diverted around the post office and adjacent retail area starting at about 2:30 p.m. and the buildings were evacuated. Soldiers wearing protective gear were still investigating the scene at 5 p.m.

Soldiers there said the dog detected a scent common to chemicals used to make certain types of bombs.

The base’s fire department, which in the past has served as a command post during emergencies, was nearly empty while investigators were at the scene. Several German firefighters at the fire department said they had no information on the investigation.

Baumholder is home to the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Armored Division. The base has been nearly empty for months because most of its 8,000 troops are deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Jan. 31, officials at Baumholder evacuated the center of the base for about four hours after dogs detected chemicals common to explosives in the post office.

The area was reopened after investigators determined that the dogs had reacted to packages containing camera film and cleaning agents.

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