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Firefighters investigate white powder sent to St. Petersburg Times' downtown office

ST. PETERSBURG — Firefighters in hazardous materials gear responded to the St. Petersburg Times' downtown office Tuesday to investigate a white powder found in an envelope.

The powder was found in the customer service department on the sixth floor. A section of the floor was isolated and people on the sixth and seventh floors were asked not to move around as firefighters removed the envelope.

Fire crews got the call to 490 First Ave. S. at 10:48 a.m.

The contents will be sent to a lab to be analyzed, but preliminary tests found no protein, said St. Petersburg Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Granata. Protein would be present if the powder contained an active biological substance, such as anthrax, Granata explained.

The hazmat crew, following standard procedure, washed its equipment outside after they left the building.

The rest of the building, including the newsroom, operated normally during the investigation.

It's the third time since 2001 that the Times' downtown office received an envelope with white powder. The powder was found to be harmless each time.

Firefighters investigate white powder sent to St. Petersburg Times' downtown office 07/05/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 4:54pm]
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