EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHAZMAT SCARE
from Eyewitness News Online
White Powder At Shoney's Not Considered Dangerous
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Mar. 19, 2012 3:41 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 20, 2012 3:09 PM EDT
Flatwoods , Braxton County , West Virginia
Early tests indicated that the powdery white substance found in a roll of pennies on Monday at the Shoney's in Flatwoods is not biological in nature. This means it is not considered dangerous.
More tests are being run to figure out exactly what the powder was.
Shoney's is back open.
A potentially toxic situation in Braxton County shuts down a restaurant and leaves many unanswered questions.
Just before 1:00 p.m. Monday, police say a cashier was breaking open a roll of pennies at the Shoney's in Flatwoods, when a white powder shot up into her face.
"Who'd have thought 15 years ago that you would have to buy terrorism insurance in the United States? It's what it's come to," said the owner of the restaurant, Wendell Richman.
Hazmat crews, and police were immediately called to respond.
"The first time we don't take something like this seriously, is the first time something seriously happens. So we treated it like it was a hazmat situation," explains Sgt. Andrew Shingler of the West Virginia State Police.
State police say they evacuated the building when they got on scene. They say about 60-75 customers and employees were inside at the time. The cashier complained of breathing problems, but no one else reported any symptoms.
"The cashier that inhaled some of the substance was decontaminated and then taken to Braxton County Memorial Hospital," said Shingler.
After bagging up the evidence, state police and the Braxton County Health Department are waiting for test results to figure out what the powder is.
"The business will not be re-opened until we have results of the environmental sampling," said county sanitarian Chris Garrett.
For Richman, he says he's upset over the loss of business, and questions why something like this would happen.
"Is ignorance running rampant through American nowadays? I mean, is it really what we've come to?" he asks.
Richman hopes to re-open on Tuesday, but testing still needs to be completed before the all clear is given.
If you were at the restaurant, and are experiencing any unusual symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
The Shoney's in Flatwoods in Braxton County has been shutdown due to a Hazmat situation.
Crews on the scene say a worker was contaminated after handling a roll of pennies with an unknown white substance.
The worker was taken to a local hospital with breathing problems. She is expected to be okay.
Around 70 people were evacuated when crews got on scene.
The restaurant is shutdown. A test has to be done on the substance before it can reopen.
We have a crew on the scene and will continue to update this story.
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