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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire crews investigating powdery substance at Spokane jail mail facility

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 21, 2016

Spokane Fire Department crews are investigating a white powdery substance that was discovered when an employee opened a letter Wednesday afternoon at the City of Spokane property facility.

Inmate mail is processed at the facility, located at 1307 W. Gardner Ave., where storage for jail inmate property is also housed.

A call came in after 2 p.m. about the powder, discovered when a Spokane County Detention Services employee opened a letter. The building was evacuated as a precaution.

No one reported feeling ill and the employee, who was wearing gloves when he opened the letter, was scrubbed down by firefighters as a precaution. Fire personnel were also sent into the building to obtain a sample in order to conduct a field test, but were unable to, said Battalion Chief Mike Thompson.

“There’s not enough of it to sample,” he said. “The monitors we could use picked up nothing.”

The letter, contained in a plastic bucket with a lid, was handed over to the Spokane Police Department as evidence.

The decontaminated employee declined to speak about his experience, but said he was OK and seemed to be in good spirits.

Spokane Police Cpl. Teresa Fuller said there is no evidence this incident is related to incidents earlier this summer in which letters containing substances were mailed to the office of Superior Court Judge Annette Plese and the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.

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