REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – Update: The employees of Missile Defense Agency in the Von Braun III complex are instructed to return to work tomorrow, Wednesday, May 1, 2013 no earlier than 7:30 a.m.
Workers in the Missile Defense Agency’s Von Braun III, Building 5224, were evacuated Tuesday morning after someone found a powdery substance.
Colonel John Hamilton, Garrison Commander of Redstone Arsenal, said an employee brought the substance in and it somehow spilled on the floor. The woman was taken to the hospital as a precaution but wasn’t showing any negative effects from it. It’s not yet clear if the unidentified worker even knew she was carrying the mysterious powder, which later tested negative for toxic components. She is not being called a suspect by base officials.
Colonel Hamilton said forensic teams tested the substance and determined it to be non-toxic, but he did not specify what the substance was. He said the decision to evacuate the building was not taken lightly.
“We made the decision for safety reasons to evacuate the building and shut down the air conditioning system,” said Col. Hamilton. “Our professionals that are first responders are trained to treat that like a worst-case scenario. When we don’t know what it is, we act like it is a bad substance. Fortunately, tests have shown it was not one of those toxins.”
Colonel Hamilton said the Arsenal hopes to have everyone back in Building 5224 by Wednesday morning, but that is not confirmed yet. The incident remains under investigation.
Employees in the building were authorized an excused absence earlier in the day.