Anthrax scare at Casino
CASINO emergency services were sent into overdrive twice on Monday night as a man attacked a delivery driver at the McDonald’s restaurant with an unidentified white powder just after 10pm.
Police, fire brigade and ambulance officers responded quickly to the first incident, cordoning off the area as Hazmat procedures were initiated by firefighters in full splash suits and breathing apparatus in case the powder was anthrax.
Casino fire station commander Glen Whitehead said officers had to treat the substance like anthrax until proven otherwise.
Three hours later the fire brigade responded to a second incident at the Casino police station after the offender, who had been taken into custody, threw another bottle of white powder at police.
“At the initial scene we decontaminated the delivery driver and two staff members before retrieving the remains of the powder and fully decontaminating the area,” Cmdr Whitehead said.
For 10 minutes the three had to wait, uncertain of what they’d been attacked with, while Hazmat-trained officers carried out standard hazardous materials response procedures, which involved them being disrobed, sprayed with disinfectant and washed down.
Their clothes were ‘bagged and tagged’ before being handed to police for analysis.
Police have sent all suspect materials to the State Government’s Analytical Laboratories at Lidcombe in Sydney for analysis.
The three men were checked at the scene by ambulance officers and cleared to go home.
Firefighters now believe the powder to be harmless.
The owner of the McDonald’s was relieved his staff members were okay, saying he’d never experienced any-thing like it before.
The second incident occurred at Casino police station about 1.20am when the detained man threw another bottle containing white powder at police.
No one came into contact with the material, but firefighters again had to decontaminate the affected area.
Police Inspector Greg Moore said the man was found to be suffering a mental illness and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital to be assessed. Police are still considering whether to lay charges against the man.