One of ProMedica’s downtown buildings was evacuated after an employee there opened a payment envelope and discovered an unknown white powder, officials for the health system said Friday.
The Junction building at ProMedica’s downtown headquarters was evacuated Friday afternoon, according to Toledo Fire Department spokesman Pvt. Sterling Rahe. The call came in about 2:15 p.m. It is the former KeyBank building at 300 N. Summit St.
A female employee opened a payment envelope and found an unidentified white powder, said Brad Conner, administrative director of security for ProMedica.
“She had a fan in her cubicle space, that fan blew that powder through the work space,” he said.
Hazmat crews responding to the emergency later tested the envelope, the surrounding area and the building’s ventilation system multiple times, Private Rahe said. No evidence of anything harmful came up.
Still, in the aftermath of the envelope being opened, the first floor of the building was cleared of staff. Shortly after that, the evacuation was expanded to the entire building, Private Rahe said. The ventilation system was shut off as a precaution, Mr. Conner said, and ProMedica employees were sent home for the day. The YMCA in that building also closed.
Employees of the Chop House restaurant on the first floor, who were also evacuated, were back in the building by Friday evening, and dinner service was open, according to a person answering the phone there.
Two people were transported by private vehicle to ProMedica Toledo Hospital and one to ProMedica OccuHealth, an occupational health facility on West Central Avenue, Mr. Conner said. He said he was unaware if any displayed symptoms of injury or illness but called it a precaution.
At least eight Toledo fire vehicles, as well as a Toledo police unit, lined Summit Street downtown about 2:30 p.m. Some people stood around the entrance to the building, behind the parked fire vehicles. Others crossed Promenade Park toward ProMedica's parking garage in the southwest corner of the park.
North Summit Street was closed between Adams Street and Madison Avenue in both directions while crews responded but was reopened by the evening.
Mr. Conner said he was unaware of any previous incidents similar to Friday’s event.