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Powder at LDS Church Office Building 'not a credible threat,' official says

Published: Friday, Feb. 21 2014 1:06 p.m. MST

Salt Lake fire and police personnel respond Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, to an unknown powder found at the LDS Church Office building.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Powder found inside envelopes mailed to the downtown Church Office Building Friday resulted in six people being evaluated by emergency crews.

But as of Friday afternoon, Salt Lake fire spokesman Jasen Asay said investigators believed the powder was "not a credible threat."

About 10 a.m., hazardous materials crews were called to the third floor of the office building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 50 E. North Temple.

"It's where the missionary department is," Asay said.

Asay said a suspicious white powder was found in an envelope that was in a stack of mail.

Six people who were "potentially exposed" to the powder went through a decontamination process.

"They're washing their hands and their face and any skin that was exposed," Asay said

The group then was evaluated by paramedics in an ambulance. But none of the potential victims complained of any symptoms, such as nausea or headaches. Asay said no one was transported to a hospital.

Hazmat crews from the fire department did a field test of the powder, which came back negative for it being an explosive or dangerous substance, Asay said.

The envelope the powder came in did not contain any threatening letter. Asay did not immediately know whom the envelope was addressed to or where it came from. The FBI was expected to help investigate the origin of the envelope.

Part of the third floor of the 28-story building was evacuated. Asay said after fire crews decontaminated that portion of the building, employees were allowed to return to work.

Asay did not know if employees are instructed to call 911 whenever they see a powdery substance or exactly what prompted them to seek emergency assistance. But he said the department was glad they did as all potential threats are taken seriously until they can be proven to be otherwise.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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