Chemical mixture in Philadelphia police waiting area prompts evacuation

Closeup of a police vehicle in Philadelphia

File photo: Shown is a police vehicle in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Authorities say they are trying to find out who deployed a chemical mixture in a southwest Philadelphia police station waiting area, prompting an evacuation.

Police say the mixture, which appears to have been a combination of mace and some other substance, was deployed at about 9:15 p.m. Friday in the witness waiting area at the Southwest Detective division. No witnesses or complainants were in the waiting area at the time, police said.

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Several employees started coughing and reported eye irritation, so a hazardous materials incident was declared and the building was evacuated, police said. City firefighters and emergency management responded along with command personnel, Homeland Security, and the city’s license and inspection department.

No injuries were reported. City inspectors completed cleaning of the building just before 2 a.m. Saturday and cleared the facility for normal operations, police said.

Homeland Security is investigating; police said there was no description of the offender.

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