White powder scare hits West Virginia insurance agency

A Charleston, West Virginia, insurance agency was recently evacuated after an employee noticed a suspicious white powder inside an envelope mailed to the building.

An employee of the Travelers Insurance Agency called first responders at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning after touching a white powder that came from an unknown envelope. The building was immediately evacuated and local police blocked off the street in front, according to WVGazette.com.

The Charleston Fire Department arrived with a hazardous materials testing kit and checked both the envelope and the surrounding area.

Charleston Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Owen Hawk said the firefighters did not see the actual powder because the employee washed it off her hands immediately.

Hawk said the tests came back negative for all hazardous substances, including anthrax, WVGazette.com reports. The testing revealed the residue to be non-organic, which means it was most likely a by-product of the sorting or mailing process.

The scene was cleared in approximately one hour and employees returned for work when the firefighters finished, according to WOWKTV.com.

"We don't get those calls near as much as we use to," Hawk said, WVGazette.com reports. "But we take all these calls seriously and luckily this it wasn't anything to be serious about."

The employee who reported the powder will be monitored in the days ahead to see if she develops any health-related complications.