Pennsylvania Walmart evacuated after discovery of white powder

A Westfall Township, Pennsylvania Walmart was evacuated and closed on Tuesday after the discovery of an unknown white powdery substance.

The powdery substance was found in a self-checkout lane at approximately 1 p.m. A front end manager found the powder after cleaning out a machine. The store called in emergency responders as employees were evacuated from the building during a five to 10 minute span, the Pocono Record reports.

A federal government hazmat team that was part of the Picatinny Arsenal Fire and Emergency Services department from New Jersey responded to the incident. Shohola and Matamoras fire departments also came to the store to investigate.

Four men in sealed hazmat suits tested the powder. After a series of six tests, the team found that the powder was not a toxic substance. The store was reopened at approximately 5 p.m., the Pocono Record reports.

William Koferl, the Westfall Fire Department chief, said that since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and the following anthrax scare, all cases involving unidentified white powders are treated as potentially hazardous.

Since the situation occurred as some employees were about to end their shifts, some of them regretted leaving their keys inside when they had to evacuate. This left the employees stranded in the parking lot for hours without coats to keep them warm.

"This is the most exciting thing that has happened in the three years I've been working here," an employee said, according to the Pocono Record.