HAZMAT personnel deal with the suspicious powder found in an envelope at Byron Bay Post Office.
HAZMAT personnel deal with the suspicious powder found in an envelope at Byron Bay Post Office. Jann Burmester

Suspicious white powder found

BYRON BAY Post Office was closed for a short time after an employee discovered a suspicious white substance in an envelope.

Just after 8am a female staff member who was sorting through a mail bag came across white powder inside a large envelope.

The incident sparked a full-scale hazardous materials response, with NSW Fire and Rescue crews from Byron Bay and Bangalow, police and NSW Ambulance descending on the Jonson St business.

The hazardous materials (HAZMAT) unit from Goonellabah also responded.

The area where the mysterious substance was found was immediately evacuated.

HAZMAT personnel in head-to-toe protective suits and face masks stationed themselves at the rear of the premises.

They were seen walking in and out of the post office before they collected the suspicious envelope and placed it in a hazardous material bin.

A NSW Fire and Rescue spokesman said the bin was handed over to police.

Police will conduct a forensic analysis of the substance.

Three female staff members were "decontaminated by firefighters before they were checked and cleared by paramedics", a NSW Fire and Rescuespokesman confirmed.

Decontamination is standard hazardous material response procedure, where those exposed are sprayed with disinfectant and washed down.

No one was injured in the incident.

HAZMAT crews remained on scene for about three hours.

The post office re-opened a short time after the area was declared safe.

Australia Post said in a statement its staff were trained to identify dangerous goods and suspicious substances.

"When a staff member suspects that an item of mail may be dangerous, they implement appropriate security processes and emergency services are called in to investigate," the statement read.

"After establishing the substance was not harmful, emergency services declared the scene safe."



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