White powder scare at Minnesota governor's mansion

MINNEAPOLIS Mon Jun 2, 2014 11:46pm EDT

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MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Two employees at the Minnesota governor's mansion were decontaminated as a precaution on Monday after staff members opened a letter and found a small amount of white powder, a state spokesman said.

Preliminary tests on the powder found no biological threat agents or toxins such as ricin or anthrax, state health department spokesman Doug Schultz said in a statement late on Monday.

Additional tests will be conducted to determine what the powder is, if possible, he said.

The letter was received and opened in a building separate from the main residence for Democratic Governor Mark Dayton in St. Paul, said Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

"The content of the letter was non-threatening," he said of the phrasing of the letter.

When staff detected a small amount of white powder, they contacted the Minnesota State Patrol, which contacted the St. Paul Fire Department to respond to the residence, he said.

The two employees underwent decontamination as a precautionary measure, Neville said. "They showed no symptoms, but we don't know what the substance is," he said.

"The governor was in the main residence at the time, not in close proximity to the letter," Neville said. "The letter posed no threat to the governor."

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Jim Loney and Jeremy Laurence)

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