Christopher LeClaire, Fire Chief
3 Greenleaf St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Newburyport Fire Department Responds to Hazardous Materials Incident at Newburyport District Court
NEWBURYPORT — Chief Christopher LeClaire reports that the Newburyport Fire Department responded to the Newburyport District Court building on Tuesday after a white powdery substance was discovered.
Firefighters responded to the courthouse, located at 188 State St., at 10:36 a.m. for a report of an unknown powder found in a plastic baggie in a second floor women’s restroom.
Upon arrival, and following standard protocols, a Tier 1 HazMat response was triggered, summoning members of the Massachusetts District 6 Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team to investigate. The response included Newburyport Firefighter Mike Comora and Amesbury Fire Department Assistant Chief David Mathers, both of whom are local members of the HazMat team.
The area was cordoned off during the incident, but a determination was made that the building did not have to be evacuated in order to safely deal with the substance. The substance was contained to the plastic bag.
The material was collected and sent to a state lab for testing and identification. At this time, the substance has not been identified.
One person, who was in the vicinity of the substance, was transported to a local hospital as a precaution.
“We responded to the courthouse this morning after a suspicious white powder was located in a restroom, and firefighters relied on their training and experience with hazardous materials to cordon off the area and ensure the safe removal of the substance,” Chief LeClaire said. “One person was evaluated at the hospital, but thankfully it appears that no one was sickened or injured today.”
Firefighters cleared the scene at 2:08 p.m. The incident is under investigation.