UPDATE: Tests Show Suspicious Powder Found in Beloit was Harmless

UPDATE: Test results on white powder found inside an envelop Wednesday at a health care center in Beloit have been completed.

Police say the report shows there was no danger to anyone exposed to the substance inside the Beloit Community Health Center. Police say no more test will be done on the envelop or it's contents.



UPDATE: BELOIT (WIFR) -- Below is a press release concering the Hazmat Response that occurred at the Eclipse Center on April 17th, 2013.

On April 17, 2013 at approximately 10:15 a.m., the Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to Beloit Community Health located at 72 Eclipse Boulevard. The report indicated that an employee opened an envelope which had a powdery substance within it and three people were experiencing a burning sensation in their nose and eyes. The envelope had been hand delivered to Beloit Community Health as a bill payment by a white male.

Based on the report given to the first responders, additional assistance was requested to secure the scene and handle the potentially serious situation. Together the following agencies worked throughout the day and into the evening on a hazmat response: the Beloit Police Department, Beloit Fire Department, Beloit Public Works, Janesville Fire Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Office, Rock County Emergency Management, the FBI, and the 54th Civil Support Team.

A total of, fifteen people were decontaminated on site and then transported to local hospitals; seven patients went to Beloit Memorial Hospital and eight went to Mercy Hospital for additional evaluation. Everyone who was transported to a hospital was treated and released.

The fifty-six people who remained in the Beloit Community Health facility for over six hours were released shortly after 4:00 p.m.

Soon thereafter, the 54th Civil Support Team entered the facility and sampled the envelope and its contents in question. The results of the preliminary tests determined that the envelope and work stations inside the Beloit Community Health facility were negative for any biological or chemical agents.

Yesterday afternoon, the individual that presented the envelope was interviewed. He was fully cooperative and could not explain the report of powder in his enveloped bill payment.

On April 18th, the Civil Support Team (CST) advised they were confident in the test results that there was no danger to the community. No further analysis will be completed on the envelope and its contents.

The substance will remain classified as unknown and symptoms experienced as unexplainable. City of Beloit Fire Chief Brad Liggett stated, “The positive news is that no one was seriously injured in this incident. We thank the City of Janesville, the 54th Civil Support Team, and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. Although this wasn’t a major incident, the Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments are always committed to our mission and our residents to maintain a high quality of life in the City of Beloit.”


UPDATE: Testing of the white powdery substance shows that it is not biological or chemical in nature, so that rules out anthrax and ricin. Beloit police will send a sample to the state crime lab tomorrow.

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UPDATE: BELOIT (WIFR) -- A scary situation at the Eclipse Center in Beloit after an employee opens an envelope containing a white powdery substance.

Police got a call just after 10 o'clock this morning. A female employee in the billing department of the Beloit Community Health Center opened a hand delivered envelope that contained a white powdery substance. Another employee then took the envelope and sealed it in a plastic bag. A third employee then brought it to another area of the building, meaning that three people were exposed to the substance.

All three workers experienced burning and irritation to their noses and eyes, the same type of irritation one might get if exposed to an onion. Those three employees were decontaminated at the scene as well as twelve others as a precautionary measure, including a three year old boy, two pregnant women, an employee with a compromised immune system, and two emergency responders.

Just before 4:30 p.m., the remaining 56 patients and staff members who were quarantined inside for about six hours, were let go. None of them were exposed to the substance or experienced any symptoms.
A lot of police and emergency personnel are securing the scene.

"We take this very seriously. Unfortunately, it's the society that we live in now that we have to address each of these incidents. We can't downplay them. We have to take it seriously since it could be something more than just a hoax,” said Captain Vince Sciame with the Beloit Police Department.

The letter was hand delivered by a white man, about 50 years old, with white hair and a white beard, wearing a brown jacket at the time. He’s considered a person of interest. The man is believed to be a patient at the center and police questioned him at his home tonight. The man admitted to being at the health center today, but he says he had no knowledge of the white substance inside the envelope. Police are not releasing his name at this time.

There is also believed to be billing information inside the envelope.


UPDATE: Below is an update from the City of Beloit concerning the hazmat response:

This morning, the Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to Beloit Community Health located at 72 Eclipse Boulevard. The report indicated that three people were experiencing burning eyes after handling an envelope.

At 3:00 p.m., the Beloit Police Department, Beloit Fire Department, Beloit Public Works, Janesville Fire Department, Rock County Emergency Management, the FBI, and the 54th Civil Support Team were all on site.

At this time, fifteen people have been decontaminated on site. Of the fifteen, seven people were transported to Beloit Memorial Hospital and eight were transported Mercy Hospital for additional evaluation. This number includes two emergency responders, a three year old child, and two women who are pregnant. Some of the fifteen were transported as a precautionary measure and may not have had direct contact with the substance.

Fifty-six people are in the Beloit Community Health facility at this time. The 54th Civil Support Team intends to enter the facility before 4:00 p.m. and sample the unknown substance that was in the envelope. They will then test the substance in their mobile crime laboratory. The results of that test will determine the next steps.

More information will be released as it becomes available.


UPDATE: 15 people have now been decontaminated and taken to the hospital, including 2 emergency responders. Seven were taken to Beloit Memorial Hospital while another eight were taken to Mercy Hospital in Janesville.

12 members of the 54th Civil Support Team are on site and about to enter the building.

Because the Health Center does not have surveillance cameras, cameras for nearby stores were reviewed. So far there are no leads in the case.


UPDATE: The 54th Civil Support Team is now on the scene and they will test the substance found in the envelope.

The 54th Civil Support Team is Wisconsin’s full time response team for emergencies or terrorist events that involve weapons of mass destruction or toxic industrial chemicals.

We will continue to update you as we learn more.


UPDATE: We've been told 3 people were initially exposed to an unknown substance after opening an envelope. The substance was discovered when a woman opened a white envelope containing billing information. All of the individuals who were exposed are said to be experiencing burning in the nostrils and irritation to the throat.

The envelope is said to have been hand delivered by a white man that was described as skinny, around 50 years old with white hair and beard wearing a brown jacket.

Crews are on the way to determine what the substance is. The FBI has been contacted in addition to area police and fire departments.

We are told that 60-65 people are inside the building and it is unclear as to whether or not they will need to be decontaminated.

Currently, 13 people are currently going through precautionary decontamination and will later be sent to the hospital for a second decontamination. According to reports, those who may have been exposed include a 3-year-old child, 2 pregnant women, and employee with a compromised immune system.

We will continue to update you as we learn more.


BELOIT (WIFR) – The City of Beloit has given the following statement concerning the HAZMAT response at the Eclipse Center.

Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday April 17th, 2013, the Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to Beloit Community Health located at 72 Eclipse Boulevard.

The initial report indicated that three people were experiencing burning eyes after handling an envelope.

The Police and Fire Departments are investigating the source of the contact. Emergency and Public Works crews are on site with HAZMAT response equipment.

Those experiencing side-effects will be decontaminated on site and transported to a local hospital if additional decontamination or evaluation is necessary.

More information will be released as it becomes available.


BELOIT (WIFR) -- Beloit Police have confirmed that a suspicious package that is reported to contain a powdery substance was at the Beloit Area Community Health Center inside the Eclipse Center in Beloit.

This is being treated as a HAZMAT call.

We will continue to update you as we learn more


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