US Senate offices evacuated

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Reports say that an office building for members of the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. was evacuated after tests detected the presence of a "possible nerve agent". The hazardous materials division has since determined that it was a false alarm. It is possible that a cleaning solvent could have tripped the sensor.

"At approximately 1830 (2330 GMT) this evening (Wednesday) we received an alarm at the Capitol Police for a nerve agent in the attic of the Russell Building," Capitol Police Sergeant Kimberly Schneider said. "This is on the Senate side of the Capitol. At this time we have received negative results on this testing. At this time, nobody has indicated that there are any symptoms present... a runny nose or something of that nature. That would indicate a presence of a nerve agent and nobody has reported that thus far."

Eight senators and over 200 senate staff members were evacuated into an underground garage next to the building until 2130 (230 GMT). The people were then briefed on the situation and screened; however, no one showed symptoms of exposure to a biological agent.