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Anthrax at the Post Office? No, Just Flour

The post office at 1101 Davis St. in Evanston was evacuated Thursday morning after an employee was exposed to "an unknown white powder." City officials later discovered it was flour mixed with spices.

Shortly after a hazmat team arrived at the Evanston Post Office at 1101 Davis St., officials discovered that the "unknown white powder” that caused the building to be evacuated was actually flour mixed with cooking spices.

Police and firefighters responded to the post office late Thursday morning when an employee sorting mail noticed a whitish-yellow substance on the outside of a package, according to city spokesperson Eric Palmer. He notified the postmaster, who called the .

When emergency responders arrived on scene, they evacuated the building and treated the employee, who had gotten some of the material on his arms, Palmer told Patch. The fire department issued a call for mutual aid from nearby communities, and 12 neighboring suburbs responded, sending at least as many trucks, Palmer said.

Not long after the hazardous materials team arrived, officials were able to identify the substance as flour mixed with cooking spices. An Evanston resident had purchased it for himself in California and mailed it home, according to city manager Wally Bobkiewicz. 

“All is clear,” he said in an e-mail to media outlets. “We are cleaning up and will be departing shortly.”

Eric Lieberman August 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Wait a second, Jennifer! It took Evanston and 12 other fire departments to handle a package of Shake 'n Bake? What a waste! There must be a better way to handle these "scares" in the future. I hope our emergency service departments are working on that. - Eric

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