LeFevre resident reports possible hazardous substance
LeFevre dormitory was evacuated Wednesday morning after a suspicious white powder was found in a microwave in the student lounge. A sign on the microwave read, “Use at your own risk,” which prompted a student to contact authorities.
“That sort of thing generates a response from the hazmat team,” said Deputy Fire Chief Britt Grimm.
The Charlottesville Fire Department was dispatched to the McCormick Road residence hall at 10 a.m., and students were evacuated from the residence shortly after. Responders established a clear perimeter around the building, blocking anyone from entry.
Fortunately, Grimm said, a student claimed the microwave and the material was deemed safe by the hazardous materials team.
“We had a student come up to us and say the microwave belonged to him, and he had burned some food and put baking soda in it and moved it into the lounge,” Grimm said. “He had put a sign on it in case anyone tried to microwave something.”
Incidents like this are rare, making it all the more important to follow protocol when one arises, Grimm said.
“All [indicators] were giving our guys the impression that maybe there’s a little bit more to this than just powder in a microwave,” Grimm said. “We go into this assuming that it’s a hazardous material … [These cases] aren’t really common, but they’re not necessarily unheard of.”
Students were allowed to return to the dorm around 11 a.m., Grimm said.
University housing officials were unavailable for comment.
—compiled by Emily Hutt