N.C. first responders take part in bioterrorism drill

Local emergency responders in Fayetteville, North Carolina, responded to a simulated chemical and biological weapons attack at the Crown Expo Center on Tuesday morning.

The Graham-based training and consulting EnviroSafe devised a scenario in which a homemade explosive device spewed white powders and chemicals on those attending a conference inside the center. Emergency responders treated role players to determine how the responders would handle a bioterrorism threat, the Fayetteville Observer reports.

Personnel from the Spring Lake, Stedman, Cotton and Fayetteville fire departments participated in the drill along with members of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management and the Fayetteville Police Department.

"A local fanatic has spent a year designing a device containing explosives, pool chemicals, gas and what he thinks is anthrax," Jon Soles, a Cumberland County spokesman, said, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

The sheriff's office bomb squad sent a robot in to assess the situation as firefighters and hazardous materials teams set up trucks and a decontamination area in the parking lot. Victims had to go through decontamination before being placed in an ambulance and being taken away.

Evaluators from EnviroSafe were on hand to critique the response during a meeting with county representatives after the completion of the drill.