Anthrax scare in Helena, Montana

Part of Montana's capitol city of Helena was shut down this week following an anthrax scare at the Department of Labor and Industry.

The Helena fire and police as well as the National Guard Civil support Team were called to respond to the incident, which began at 9 a.m. on Tuesday when an envelope containing a suspicious white powder was opened on the third floor of the Department of Labor and Industry building. That building is located directly across the street from the Capitol building.

Thirty-five employees working on the third floor were moved to another part of the building. Three of those 35 employees as well as Helena Officer Jerry McGee were isolated as a result of coming within close proximity of the powder. A total of 180 people work in the building, though they were not evacuated.

By 2 p.m., the National Guard Civil Support team, which specializes in biological chemicals, had declared the substance harmless.

Helena Assistant Chief of Police Dave Jeseritz told that tests conducted on the suspicious envelope revealed that the powder was harmless.

The letter was sent from a man in Butte, Montana to the unemployment insurance office. The man is currently being called a person of interest, with police following up on the address in partnership with Butte Law Enforcement.