White Powder Scare at Police Station - @ JEMS.com


White Powder Scare at Police Station

Big response closes Bay Street, but substance with letter is just cornstarch


 
 

John Annese | | Wednesday, July 30, 2008


NEW YORK -- In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when someone found an envelope filled with a suspicious powder, panic, a massive emergency response and national headlines followed.



When it happened yesterday at the 120th Precinct's St. George stationhouse, the emergency response arrived on cue, shutting down Bay Street and "decontaminating" 11 people in case the mystery substance proved hazardous.



By contrast, most passersby greeted the scene with indifference.



"Oh, come on!" said St. George resident Richenda Kramer, as she walked on the other side of the street, heading to the ferry terminal. "The level of hysteria is just ridiculous. ... I think it's overkill." If an envelope with white powder elicits such a massive response, she said, "then the terrorists succeeded beyond their wildest dreams."



In this case, the white powder turned out to be cornstarch, authorities said.



Police at the stationhouse discovered the envelope - addressed "to the members of the 120th Precinct" at 78 Richmond Terr. - sometime after 10 a.m.



Inside the envelope, cops found a threatening letter and the powder. The envelope was opened in the "outer office" of Deputy Inspector John Denesopolis, cops said.



Meanwhile, the FDNY deployed its "Major Emergency Response Vehicle" - essentially, a massive ambulance that resembles a red school bus and can handle 15 walk-up patients or three patients on stretchers at once.



Emergency workers set up a decontamination area behind the police stationhouse, where 10 civilians and two police officers were treated, but none required hospital care.



Paramvage Weeraradna, who works down the block from the stationhouse at Home Plates Eatery & Pizza, 58 Richmond Terr., understood the response but was frustrated that Bay Street was shut down.



"We are stuck," he said. "We don't have any business. Customers cannot come, and we cannot deliver."



And although most people walking by didn't even lift their heads or interrupt their conversations to find out what was going on, the response made an impression on a few people.



Adele Carter of Clifton called the response "necessary," but noted, "I think somebody's playing a prank on the precinct."



Standing outside a deli next to Home Plates, one merchant marveled that a single letter could have such an effect.



"That's crazy. One guy could do this? That's just crazy," he said. "When they catch him, they should arrest him for good to make an example so nobody will do it again."



Advance staff writer Phil Helsel contributed to this report.



John Annese is a news reporter for the Advance. He may be reached at annese@siadvance.com




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Specialty Vehicles, Vehicle Operations, Special Operations, WMD and Terrorism

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >