Evacuation caused by residue

By ALLEN MINCEY
Posted 11/28/17

Emergency personnel have determined the way an envelope was opened led to concerns about what it might contain, triggering Monday's evacuation of the Circuit Court Clerk's office at the Bradley …

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Evacuation caused by residue

TROY SPENCE, Cleveland/Bradley Emergency Management Agency director, far right, talks with officers with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office about a suspect envelope at the Circuit Court Clerk's office Monday. From left are Patrol Sgt. Kevin Chastain and Detectives Lt. Mark Miller and David Michaels.
TROY SPENCE, Cleveland/Bradley Emergency Management Agency director, far right, talks with officers with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office about a suspect envelope at the Circuit Court Clerk's office Monday. From left are Patrol Sgt. Kevin Chastain and Detectives Lt. Mark Miller and David Michaels.
Banner photo, ALLEN MINCEY
Posted

Emergency personnel have determined the way an envelope was opened led to concerns about what it might contain, triggering Monday's evacuation of the Circuit Court Clerk's office at the Bradley County Judicial Complex.

They confirmed later there was no actual danger present.

Authorities determined that the letter was in an envelope that should be opened by using the  provided perforations, according to Bradley County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Spence. However, it was reportedly opened differently, and the residue from that method of getting into the envelope led clerks in the office to question its possible toxicity.

"We determined that there was no dangerous powder in the envelope, but residue that occurred because of the way it was opened," Spence said. He added that envelopes had probably been opened in a similar fashion before, but with no powdery residue being produced in the process.

The Circuit Court Clerk's office was evacuated, nonetheless, for precautionary measures. That evacuation was confined to the office, and with no court in session Monday afternoon, no other evacuation occurred, pending emergency inspection.

The clerks in the office went outside of the building for a short time, possibly 15 minutes or so, to allow for the envelope to be examined. Members of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office and Cleveland Fire Department responded to the incident.

Court security also kept people coming to pay fines or perform other obligations outside, until the "all clear" signal came from emergency personnel.

Several years ago, an unknown substance was discovered at the Clerk's Office when it was located at the Bradley County Courthouse, so officials in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office were wary of any possible danger. All were relieved when the incident turned out the way it did, and no injuries were reported.


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