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UPDATE: Beloit Police Consider Envelope Scare Case Closed

UPDATED Thursday, April 18, 2013 --- 3:53 p.m.

Press Release from Beloit Police:

On April 17, 2013 at approximately 10:15 a.m., the Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to Beloit Community Health located at 72 Eclipse Boulevard. The report indicated that an employee opened an envelope which had a powdery substance within it and three people were experiencing a burning sensation in their nose and eyes. The envelope had been hand delivered to Beloit Community Health as a bill payment by a white male.

Based on the report given to the first responders, additional assistance was requested to secure the scene and handle the potentially serious situation. Together the following agencies worked throughout the day and into the evening on a hazmat response: the Beloit Police Department, Beloit Fire Department, Beloit Public Works, Janesville Fire Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Office, Rock County Emergency Management, the FBI, and the 54th Civil Support Team.

A total of, fifteen people were decontaminated on site and then transported to local hospitals; seven patients went to Beloit Memorial Hospital and eight went to Mercy Hospital for additional evaluation.
Everyone who was transported to a hospital was treated and released.

The fifty-six people who remained in the Beloit Community Health facility for over six hours were released shortly after 4:00 p.m.

Soon thereafter, the 54th Civil Support Team entered the facility and sampled the envelope and its contents in question. The results of the preliminary tests determined that the envelope and work stations inside the Beloit Community Health facility were negative for any biological or chemical agents.

Yesterday afternoon, the individual that presented the envelope was interviewed. He was fully cooperative and could not explain the report of powder in his enveloped bill payment.

On April 18th, the Civil Support Team (CST) advised they were confident in the test results that there was no danger to the community. No further analysis will be completed on the envelope and its contents. The substance will remain classified as unknown and symptoms experienced as unexplainable.

City of Beloit Fire Chief Brad Liggett stated, “The positive news is that no one was seriously injured in this incident. We thank the City of Janesville, the 54th Civil Support Team, and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. Although this wasn’t a major incident, the Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments are always committed to our mission and our residents to maintain a high quality of life in the City of Beloit.”

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UPDATED Thursday, April 18, 2013 --- 10:47 a.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- The Beloit police department has ended its investigation into an envelope dropped off at a health clinic that prompted dozens to be quarantined and sent 15 people to the hospital as a precaution.

Capt. Vince Sciame says officials tested the envelope, bill, check and the desk it touched for dangerous residue but found nothing chemical or biological. He says there was a very small amount of whatever was inside.

Sciame says the man who dropped off his bill and payment Wednesday morning at the Beloit Area Community Health Center was forthcoming and says he didn't put anything else in the envelope.

Sciame says the state's crime lab is doing more tests. He says the investigation is considered closed pending those results. He says it's possible they will never know.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 10:51 p.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities remain mystified about what was in an envelope dropped off at a southern Wisconsin health clinic that prompted dozens of people to be quarantined.

Beloit Police Capt. Vince Sciame says tests Wednesday determined the powder in the envelope was not a biological or a chemical agent. But he says authorities don't know what the powder is, so it's being sent to the Wisconsin state crime lab for testing.

Sciame says police talked to the patient who delivered the envelope containing his bill payment to the Beloit Area Community Health Center on Wednesday morning. Sciame says the man says he didn't put any foreign substance in the envelope.

According to Sciame, the man is "dumbfounded" by what happened.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 6:20 p.m.

The Beloit Police Department says preliminary results show the tests are negative for both biological and chemical agents in the powder found in an envelope delivered to Beloit Community Health today.

Police say at this time the powder appears harmless, but they are not sure what it is. They will do more testing, which could take hours.

Police also say they have tracked down the man who delivered the envelope. They say he was very forthcoming, and he did not express any ill intent. Police say there is no indication that any charges will be filed.

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 4:22 p.m.

Release from the City of Beloit:

BELOIT HAZMAT RESPONSE UPDATE

This morning, the Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to Beloit Community Health located at 72 Eclipse Boulevard. The report indicated that three people were experiencing burning eyes after handling an envelope.

At 3:00 p.m., the Beloit Police Department, Beloit Fire Department, Beloit Public Works, Janesville Fire Department, Rock County Emergency Management, the FBI, and the 54th Civil Support Team were all on site.

At this time, fifteen people have been decontaminated on site. Of the fifteen, seven people were transported to Beloit Memorial Hospital and eight were transported Mercy Hospital for additional evaluation. This number includes two emergency responders, a three year old child, and two women who are pregnant. Some of the fifteen were transported as a precautionary measure and may not have had direct contact with the substance.

Fifty-six people are in the Beloit Community Health facility at this time. The 54th Civil Support Team intends to enter the facility before 4:00 p.m. and sample the unknown substance that was in the envelope. They will then test the substance in their mobile crime laboratory. The results of that test will determine the next steps

More information will be released as it becomes available.

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 4:02 p.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- An official in Beloit says about 15 people have been taken to hospitals and another 56 are quarantined after a suspicious envelope was delivered to a health clinic.

Beth Jacobsen is the assistant to the city manager of Beloit. She says a man hand-delivered an envelope containing powder to the Beloit Area Community Health Center Wednesday morning. Employees called 911 after three people who handled the envelope experienced burning and discomfort in their eyes and noses.

She says some of the people were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Lt. Joe Trovato of Wisconsin National Guard says their 54th Civil Support Team is on scene and is expected to test the substance in their mobile lab Wednesday.

Authorities are trying to identify the man who delivered the envelope.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 2:12 p.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- An official in Beloit says about 65 people have been quarantined after a suspicious envelope was delivered to a health clinic and at least 11 will be taken to a hospital.

Beth Jacobson is the assistant to the city manager of Beloit. She says a man hand-delivered an envelope containing powder to the Beloit Area Community Health Center on Wednesday morning. Employees called 911 after three people who handled the envelope experienced burning and discomfort in their eyes and noses.

Jacobson says a hazardous material team quarantined 60 to 65 patients and employees. Eleven people are being decontaminated on scene and will be transported to a hospital.

Jacobson says the state's 54th Civil Support Team will test the substance.

Authorities are trying to identify the man who delivered the envelope.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 1:01 p.m.

NBC15's Rachelle Baillon is at the scene in Beloit, and gathered the following information:

A bearded, white male in his 30-40's hand delivered an envelope to the Beloit Community Health Center today. It was taken to the billing department.

One female employee opened the letter and a white powdery substance came out.

One of her co-workers sealed the envelope in a Ziploc bag.

Law enforcement officials were contacted at 10:10 a.m.

Seven people are being treated and will go through the decontamination process. Only one of those persons has symptoms of burning eyes and nose.

A tent is set up at the scene where the initial decontamination will occur. Subjects will be taken to Beloit Hospital for further decontamination and testing.

The remaining employees of the Beloit Community Health Center are being quarantined until a decision can be made on their status.

A crew is on the way from Madison to test the substance to determine what it is.

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 11:41 a.m.

Press Release from the City of Beloit:

Beloit, Wisconsin (April 17, 2013) – At roughly 10:30 a.m., the Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to Beloit Community Health located at 72 Eclipse Boulevard. The initial report indicated that three people were experiencing burning eyes after handling an envelope.

The Police and Fire Departments are investigating the source of the contact. Emergency and Public Works crews are on site with Hazmat response equipment. Those experiencing side-effects will be decontaminated on site and transported to a local hospital if additional decontamination or evaluation is necessary.
More information will be released as it becomes available.

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Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013 --- 11:13 a.m.

Rock C. Dispatch says Beloit Fire and Police have been sent to Eclipse Center at 10:20 a.m. for a report of a suspicious package.

This is being considered a HAZMAT call.

Stay with NBC15.com for the latest information on this developing story.


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