One floor of the San Mateo County Government Center in Redwood City was evacuated Thursday morning after a county worker opened a letter containing a mysterious powdery substance, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
The substance was never identified although tested and determined not to be dangerous. Employees were allowed back inside around 11:30 a.m.
A woman who works for the county’s planning and building department at 455 County Center opened a letter Wednesday afternoon and found a white powder inside, San Mateo County sheriff’s Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt said.
Some of the substance got on her and she felt a burning on her lips and fingers, but continued working and left the letter on her boss’ desk, Rosenblatt said.
The employee felt OK yesterday morning, but decided to notify her office about the letter before she returned to the building. In turn, department officials called the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s personnel responded around 8:30 a.m. Thursday with a hazardous materials team.
The second floor of the county building was evacuated, and as of 10:30 a.m., the hazmat team was still working to secure the building and examine the suspicious powder, Rosenblatt said.
Other parts of the building were not affected by the incident, she said.