Capitol building cleared after hazardous material found |

Capitol building cleared after hazardous material found

WASHINGTON – A Capitol office building was evacuated Wednesday night after sensors indicated the presence of a nerve agent but a later test proved negative.”Tests initially indicated a nerve agent,” said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. “A subsequent test indicated it is not a nerve agent.”Schneider said about a dozen senators were among 200 people who were asked to remain in a parking garage.”We’ll keep everyone until we don’t have the need to keep them anymore,” she said.Authorities were awaiting the results of a third test for more conclusive results.None of the people gathered in the garage was showing any signs of sickness or other adverse symptoms, such as a runny nose, that might indicate the presence of a nerve agent, Schneider said.The Homeland Security Department did not have an immediate comment, but a senior counterterror official said it did not immediately appear to be an emergency.She did not know whether sensors positioned in the attic of the Senate Russell Office Building, which picked up the suspicious material, were able to tell whether it was in powder, liquid or gas form. Earlier, police reported they had discovered a suspicious powder in the attic.The alarm went off at about 6:45 p.m. EST, indicating the presence of a hazardous substance. Senators and employees were told to go the e West Legislative Garage and remain there.”The building is closed,” Capitol Police wrote in an e-mail to lawmakers and their staffs.Hazardous material teams and firefighters were dispatched to the Russell building after the initial sensor tested positive the nerve agent. A second test proved negative, however, and officials were conducting a third test in the evening for more conclusive results.Vail, Colorado

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