Powdery substance found in letter at mayor’s office deemed ‘not harmful’

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team responded to City Hall Friday afternoon, Sept. 28 after a staffer in the mayor's office opening mail found a powdery substance within a letter.

Around 1 p.m., an employee on the second floor opened the letter containing the unknown substance, which sent many people into a panic. However, staff remained focused and called for help.

Within minutes, crews from the Milwaukee Fire Department and Milwaukee Police Department arrived at the scene.

Officials determined the substance was not harmful, not explosive, radioactive or chemical. However, the substance will be sent for testing.

Hazmat response at Milwaukee's City Hall

"We just wanted to act out of an abundance of caution. We had one of our younger employees open the envelope and we didn’t want to put him in harms way so we contacted the fire department, and they immediately responded," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "You can see that the fire department is very well trained. The knew exactly what to do. They have responded quickly and professionally and now have cleared the area. So people have returned to work, and we just move on."

The second floor at City Hall was cordoned off during this event. But the rest of the building was operating as normal.

Hazmat response at Milwaukee's City Hall