DeKalb police Sgt. J.A. Rifling puts up crime scene tape at the Social Security Administration office.

All-clear given after powder found on envelope at federal building

A U.S. Social Security Administration building in DeKalb County was evacuated Wednesday morning after employees found an envelope with white powder on it, officials said.

Crews gave the all-clear at about 10:30 a.m. after the substance was determined to not be hazardous.

DeKalb County police and fire crews responded to a report of a suspicious package at the office building, located at 3554 Covington Highway, fire spokesman Capt. Dion Bentley said.

Hazmat crews suit up at the scene of the evacuation Tuesday morning.
Photo: JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Two social security employees got to work about 8 a.m. and came in contact with the envelope, which Bentley said had a “white substance” on the outside.  

“Two people looked at the package and decided this might be something to worry about,” Bentley told reporters at the scene.

More than 30 people were evacuated from the building. No customers were inside at the time, since the office usually opens at 9 a.m.

Social Security Administration spokeswoman Patti Patterson said employees evacuated the office “out of the abundance of caution while the local authorities are there investigating.” 

A hazmat team was called to the scene to investigate the package.

“It was such (a) trace amount of powder that it was deemed a non-credible threat,” Bentley said. “So there is no hazard.”

The federal building is located near Covington Highway’s intersection with Memorial Drive, close to Avondale Estates and I-285.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates on this breaking news story. 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the date of the incident. It happened Wednesday, not Tuesday.

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