Day 2: White Powder In Senators' Mail

Published On: Oct 19 2011 04:27:11 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 28 2011 11:02:23 AM EDT

For the second afternoon in a row, the hazardous materials team and bomb squad has responded to a suspicious substance found in a mail item at a U.S. senator's Jacksonville office.

About 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jacksonville Fire-Rescue was called to the duPont Center on Prudential Drive -- less than one-half mile from Monday's incident on the 20th floor of the Riverplace Tower.

A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio says the regional director and a staff assistant were in the office when a letter was opened containing a white powdery substance. The two, along with all other employees of the building, were evacuated as a precaution while firefighters and the U.S. Capitol Police investigated.

No one reported any ill effects. Rubio was not in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

On Tuesday evening, Rubio's office received an update from the U.S. Capitol Police. The FBI on the ground confirmed that field screening was conducted by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Hazmat, and all field tests results were negative. The white powder sent to Rubio's office was deemed harmless.

Tuesday night, U.S. Capitol Police could not confirm exactly what the susbtance is, only that it is not hazardous.


On Monday afternoon, what was described as a threat letter opened at Sen. Bill Nelson's office in Jacksonville contained a white powder. As a precaution, the 20th floor was cleared and the elevators and air conditioning to the building were shut down while a Hazmat team and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office bomb squad responded.

Nelson's office in Washington announced two hours later that the substance turned out to be cornstarch. The FBI is investigating both incidents, telling Channel 4 that the bureau is "proceeding on the presumption they?re connected."

An FBI spokesman said any evidence gathered will be presented for possible criminal charges.


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