Senator's Office: Powder Is Corn Starch

Published On: Oct 19 2011 04:50:15 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 27 2011 07:46:40 AM EDT

The 20th floor of the Riverplace Tower on the Southbank was evacuated Monday afternoon after a powdery substance was found in a threatening letter opened at Sen. Bill Nelson's office.

Two hours later, the senator's office said the powder turned out to be corn starch.

Nelson's Jacksonville office is on the 20th floor of the building. Nelson was in Jacksonville Monday morning and was giving media interviews at his office, but left before the letter was opened.

First word of a suspicious substance came about 3 p.m. About 45 minutes later, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office bomb squad was called to the 28-floor building once known as the Gulf Life Tower.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue spokesman Tom Francis would only say, "A white substance that was observed did not represent bomb material."

An email sent to tenants of the building from the property manager's office notified them of the substance found and that police and fire personnel were on the way.

The email from the Gate Riverplace Company obtained by Channel 4 said the elevators and air conditioning in the building were shut down by request of the Fire Department.

Local officials have not released any details on the specifics of what was found, but Channel 4 received an email from Nelson's office at 5:10 p.m. saying, "The authorities have determined the white powdery substance sent to Sen. Nelson?s office inside a threat letter today was corn starch, not anthrax."


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