Hazmat crews from Ames and Des Moines were called out this (Tuesday) morning after a scare on the campus of Iowa State University. I-S-U Police Captain Gene Deisinger says the call came after a discovery in the mailroom at Alumni Hall, which houses admissions offices. A little before ten A.M., a worker noticed white powder coming out of an envelope as it was opened, and they called a supervisor who contacted ISU police. He says it was a staff member who was sorting mail and feeding it into an automatic opener was watching it open each letter, and saw the powder. Three employees were “possibly exposed” to the unknown powder, and Deisinger explains the protocol is to keep anyone in that situation “in close proximity” so there’s no further contamination. On-campus environmental health and safety were first to respond along with campus police. They called the Ames Fire Department hazardous-materials team, which in turn called in a Des Moines Hazmat unit that has on-site analysis tools. The substance was found not to be dangerous he says, and it’s pretty certain it’s a common household chemical that posed no danger of contamination or injury to the people exposed. The substance has been sent to the state hygienics laboratory to confirm the on-the-spot analysis, but Deisinger says he’s confident the powder in the envelope is harmless. There was nothing else inside, and the captain couldn’t say whether there was any return address on the envelope. About 80 people were in Alumni Hall, though only 3 were considered at any risk of exposure to the substance, and the building was closed down for the rest of the day.
You are here: / / Powder scare shuts down ISU building