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Fire Department gives all clear at Federal Courthouse after suspicious package found

Suspicious substance reported at Fed. Courthouse
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 20:05:41-05

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Fire Department was called to downtown's  Federal Courthouse Friday afternoon for a report of a "suspicious  substance."

"We arrived on scene, questioned individuals and interviewed them and we did some tests on the package and substance inside the package," Battalion Chief Todd VanRoo said. "We found the substance was non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-explosive and not a danger to human life at this time."

Video from Chopper 4 showed some courthouse workers standing outside as emergency vehicles lined Wisconsin Ave.

The fire department says they weren't really evacuated but some employees happened to be going home at the time of the situation. 

"It was isolated to the southeast side of the building and no evacuations were needed at the time of alarm," VanRoo said. "It was closer to the end of the day and these individuals went home."

Around 5:30, the fire department and hazmat teams cleared the area. The fire department says the hazmat team was called in as a precaution as they consider all suspicious packages to be hazardous until proven otherwise. 

"We want to paint it by numbers," VanRoo said. "Err on the side of caution. I want to say within a half hour, we were able to determine it wasn't something that would hurt any individuals involved or anyone down the road as far as handling the package or substance."

VanRoo says the package was sealed and given to the FBI for further testing and investigating.