Federal building in Fayetteville evacuated

Fayetteville emergency personnel work in a parking lot north of the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building Thursday in Fayetteville after a package from a prisoner containing a white powdery substance was opened inside the building. The facility was evacuated before officials determined the substance did not pose a threat.
Fayetteville emergency personnel work in a parking lot north of the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building Thursday in Fayetteville after a package from a prisoner containing a white powdery substance was opened inside the building. The facility was evacuated before officials determined the substance did not pose a threat.

— A letter sent by a state prison inmate prompted the evacuation of one floor of the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building Thursday afternoon.

“An envelope was sent to the federal building and it was opened and it had white powder in it,” U.S. Marshal Dick O’Connell said.

O’Connell said fifth-floor office personnel immediately notified authorities, who triggered standard emergency procedures. Those include calling the local hazardous materials response team.

“They looked at the substance, tested it, and determined it was a non-toxic substance,” O’Connell said. “So everyone was brought back into the building and we’re all back to work.”

The evacuation started about 2:15 p.m. and lasted about an hour.