2003-03-15 / Front Page

Powder Scare Closes Addabbo’s Office

By Howard Schwach

Powder Scare Closes Addabbo's Office
By Howard Schwach

Suspicious white powder delivered in a package of brochures from the printers at City Hall triggered an alert at a local hospital and forced the closing of City Councilman Joseph Addabbo's Howard Beach office on Wednesday.

The powder, which sparked fears of bioterrorism, turned out to be packing powder designed to keep the brochures from sticking to each other.

"When one of my staff members opened the package, it contained white powder," Addabbo said later. "She said that her finger smelled a little funny and she got a little nervous."

The West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department re-portedly responded to the councilman's 911 call and evacuated the building. Police sealed off the block around the office.

Two staff members were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where staff members wore special decontamination gowns to examine the staffers.

The two were treated and released.

"This is normal procedure," Addabbo said. "It is a normal precaution."

He added, "when a staff member is involved, you have to take precautions."

The city's health department called the printer, who said that they sometimes use a powder to keep the printed material from sticking together.

Addabbo's office was reopened a few hours later.

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