Hazardous materials team responds to 'suspicious package'
Emergency personnel from Salisbury Township responded to a report of an unknown white substance in an unaddressed envelope at the office of Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., at 1150 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Suite 101, Allentown, 12:50 p.m. Feb. 25.
The Lehigh County Special Operations Team, who responds to hazardous materials incidents in the county, came to the scene to safely remove and test the suspicious material.
According to a Salisbury Township Police Department press release, it was determined on the scene the substance was not harmful or hazardous.
Mail handlers at Toomey's office said they sensed something was just not right with the envelope which arrived Monday afternoon by U.S. mail. They proceeded to call 911 and put the envelope aside without opening it. The handlers told emergency responders the contents felt like a powdery substance.
Salisbury Township Police and the Western Salisbury Township Fire Department were the first on the scene and began to check the area. Ambulance crews from the City of Allentown and Cetronia Ambulance Corps also were on standby in case they were needed. Special Operations Team Command Officer John Kalynych ordered the area cordoned off while hazmat technicians suited up in protective gear to retrieve and do field testing to determine whether the package posed a danger.
Following prescribed safety measures, the hazmat team retrieved the package and did a number of field tests before determining the substance was not hazardous.
After Kalynych turned over the package to Salisbury police, Salisbury Detective Kevin Kress told news media at an informal curbside press briefing the substance "was not hazardous and posed no danger at any time. While I can't yet say what the substance is, we have been assured that it did not and does not pose any danger to the office workers or first responders."
Kress said the incident was acted on with an abundance of caution under hazardous materials protocols until it was deemed not to be a danger.
Kress said he will be investigating further to determine the source of the suspicious envelope.
There were no injuries during this incident and the building was open for regular business around 3 p.m.