FBI To Investigate Bacteria Scare At Pine County Courthouse

Sunday, November 24th, 2013 at 11:23 am

[UPDATE] In connection with Tuesday’s “powder incident” at the Pine County Courthouse, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the possibility that the white substance may have contained harmful bacteria.

At approximately 1:30pm on Tuesday, Pine County Emergency Dispatch was notified of six envelopes containing an unknown white powder substance that were addressed and delivered to several departments within the Pine County Government Center. The envelopes were immediately isolated to two locations within the Government Center and all employees and visitors, including the court rooms, were evacuated per emergency response protocols.

At 3:30 pm a HAZMAT team from the Saint Paul Fire department arrived and conducted an assessment of the substance at the scene.

A preliminary screening of the material indicated it was a carbohydrate based material such as flour, and no injuries were reported.

Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health stated no chemical or biological terrorism was suspected, but found that the powder did contain a potentially harmful bacteria.

MDH says it needs to run more tests to decipher the bacteria, and whether it is one that can cause foodborne-illness symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

MDH said it will take about two weeks to get definitive lab results.

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