Substance inside envelope at Beth Harwell's office not hazardous - WKRN News 2

Substance inside envelope at Beth Harwell's office not hazardous

Posted: Updated: Jun 26, 2014 05:44 PM

The substance found inside an envelope opened by a staffer at Speaker Beth Harwell’s office in downtown Nashville Thursday morning has been deemed non-hazardous.

Fire crews and other emergency officials responded to the scene at Sixth Avenue and Deadrick Street around 9:45 a.m.

Authorities have not said what the substance was, but said workers could resume their normal activities just before 12:30 p.m.

Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the staffer who opened the envelope, along with four others who came into contact with the substance, were being evaluated, but were not immediately experiencing any type of illness.

"Of course you start thinking of the names in the speaker's office of who is okay," said Tres Wittum, an aide for Tennessee Senator Bo Watson.

A portion of Legislative Plaza was evacuated immediately after the package was opened as a precaution.

Miller said in a brief news conference the entire building was not evacuated because it was not a widespread threat.

Legislative personnel were asked to not approach the area surrounding Harwell’s office from the cafeteria south or the north main entrance immediately after the discovery.

Personnel were also asked to avoid the main hallway and remain in the offices for a period of time.

“We sincerely appreciate the actions of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Metro Police Department, the Metro Fire Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, TBI, Metro Hazardous Materials Unit, and TEMA for taking swift and appropriate action to ensure our employees and the public are safe,” Harwell said, in part, in a statement.

"Whoever did this. your prank might be funny to you, but I guarantee the troopers don't think it's funny and the state doesn't think it's funny and they'll find you," said Wittum.

No injuries were reported. Speaker Harwell was not at her office at the time.

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