HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County police say initial tests of a powdery substance found inside a letter at the Carolina Forest Post Office came back clear.
Lt. Raul Denis said the substance is non-threatening and that the FBI and Postal Service will now take the lead in the investigation.
The incident began Thursday afternoon after a citizen reportedly opened a letter and discovered a white powdery substance and threatening letter inside the facility.
According to Lt. Raul Denis with Horry County Police, the individual got scared and dumped the envelope at the Post Office then drove himself to the Conway Medical Center just after 2 p.m. The person carried the threatening letter into the hospital, adds Lt. Denis.
Postal Way at Renee Drive was closed pending the test results, but Lt. Denis said Thursday evening the road would soon reopen. Lt. Denis said Conway Medical Center was also notified of the results.
A portion of the Conway Medical Center was closed following the person’s entrance. Hospital spokesperson Julie Rajotte says emergency walk-in traffic is now allowed back to the hospital, and the patient who received the letter was discharged from the emergency department.
Rajotte adds that ambulances were diverted as the emergency room area is shut down. One nurse and the patient have been isolated. A complete washdown of the emergency room area and any other portion of the hospital where the patient walked will be completed before the hospital is reopened.
Rajotte released the following update at 8:16 p.m. Thursday concerning the patient who was possibly exposed to a hazardous material:
The patient who presented earlier today in the Emergency Department at Conway Medical Center reporting he may have been exposed to a hazardous material is still being monitored in the Emergency Department at Conway Medical Center. Vital signs continue to be stable and the patient is comfortable with no signs or symptoms of exposure to a hazardous material. The patient will continue to be monitored until all testing has been completed on the material he was exposed to. The hazardous material team will begin testing the material at the original site of exposure shortly. Until all testing is completed, ambulances will continue to be diverted from Conway Medical Center’s Emergency Department due to the Ambulance Entrance’s proximity to the decontamination staging area. Ambulatory emergency patients such as those arriving by private vehicle will continue to be treated at the hospital.
Conway Fire Department Assistant Chief Jeremy Carter confirms his crew is at the Conway Medical Center assisting with the Hazmat investigation and that the scene is contained.
Conway Police are also on scene on the hospital assisting with traffic control and direction, confirms Lt. Selena Small.
The patient’s condition is not known at this time, although officials do confirm the individual is isolated.