Greenwich Town Hall Incident: Preliminary Tests Show 'Substance Not Harmful' [UPDATE] [VIDEO]

Police say one police officer decontaminated after he confirmed envelope held "white powdery substance."

Update: 1:35 p.m.

Greenwich Police say the large-scale emergency response by local, state and federal agencies to investigate and remove an envelope with a white powdery substance from a ground floor office in Greenwich Town Hall late Thursday is protocol in this post-911 era.

The  responding officer confirmed the presence of an unknown white powdery substance shortly after being dispatched to town hall at 4 p.m. April 26, unleashing the full-scale response.

“You only get one chance” to investigate the scene, explained Greenwich Police spokesman Lt Kraig Gray.

The agencies responded include the Greenwich Fire Department including its Special Operations Unit and Deputy Chiefs Brian Koczak and Thomas Zack; the Stamford Police Bomb Squad, the Connecticut Department of Emergency and Environmental Protection, and the FBI.

Initial tests by the agencies didn’t indicate any harmful substances, Gray said. There will be more tests by the Connecticut state Department of Public Health

And that unidentified officer was decontaminated and brought to Greenwich Hospital as a precaution after being exposed to the power, according to Gray. “There were no injuries,” Gray said. Emergency crews finally cleared the scene at about 9:15 p.m., although emergency officials including Police Chief James Heavey and Emergency Management Director Dan Warzoha, along with the town's environmental health director, Mike Long, were meeting in town hall around 10 p.m.

Gray would not say whether the envelope was mailed to the department, whether it was addressed or the size of the envelope. “It’s an open investigation,” Gray said.

The  town’s IT and GIS departments remained off limits Friday.

Update 9:28 p.m.

First Selectman Peter Tesei said that the substance has been removed and sent to a state lab for testing.

“Preliminarily, I think it’s deemed unharmful but until you know conclusively, you follow various protocols,” he said.

Town Hall’s first, second and third floors will be fully accessible Friday. The IT and GIS departments on the ground floor will not be accessible, Tesei said.

“We will make provisions in notifying staff until the time we receive a conclusive report on the test results from the state,” he said.

Agencies that were involved in responding to the incident include the FBI, town emergency staff, Greenwich police and fire, health and public works, and resources from Stamford, Tesei said.

Update 8:57 p.m.

Greenwich Fire Department is leaving the scene.

Update 8:38 p.m.

Stamford bomb squad is leaving the scene.

Update 8:33 p.m.

Greenwich Fire Department and GEMS are packing up equipment.

Update 8:22 p.m.

First Selectman Peter Tesei is at Town Hall.

It has been business as usual on the other three floors of Town Hall this evening, with meetings held. Only the ground floor seems to be off-limits.

Update 7:53 p.m.

More GEMS supervisors have arrived on scene at Town Hall.

The two trucks from Connecticut Tank Removal have left.

Update 7:41 p.m.

Hazardous materials commercial cleanup trucks are on scene: one over-sized pickup, and an open dump truck-like vehicle with large yellow containers in the back.

A Greenwich police spokesperson has confirmed "suspicious activity" and will have more information as it becomes available.

Update 7:31 p.m.

A second GEMS ambulance has arrived at Town Hall.

Update 7:27 p.m.

The GEMS ambulance has left Town Hall.

Original Story

Shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, dispatched officers to the ground floor of on a report that a female employee of the IT Department found an envelope that had been left behind, according to radio transmissions.

Moments later, according to another scanner transmission, an officer reported the discovery of a white powdery substance.

After the ground floor of Town Hall had been cordoned off, Police Chief James Heavey arrived on scene. After 5 p.m., the Stamford bomb squad also arrived on scene, followed by a special operations


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command unit from the , Tower 1 and Engine 1 from Greenwich fire and one Greenwich Emergency Medical Services unit.

Deputy Fire Chief Brian Koczak also arrived on scene.

After 6 p.m., Greenwich police confirmed that there is a victim and that the individual needed to be washed down. Shortly after 7 p.m., Michael Long, head of the 's environmental health division, arrived on scene.

Patch will have more information as it becomes available.

—Michael Dinan contributed to this report.

[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect accurately the location of the IT and GIS departments.]

Hat City April 27, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Just out of curiosity, but why wasn't the Fire Department called until an hour into this incident?? The police department is not equipped to handle hazardous material exposures, so why were they the first agency to be dispatched??
SUV Sister April 27, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Here is yet another strange incident involving the Greenwich Town Hall IT Department. Coincidence?


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