Friday Morning Update:
The Washington State Patrol sent a hazmat team to further investigate. They determined last night the substance was “non-hazardous.”
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office notified residents within a 300-foot radius of the courthouse and asked them to shelter in place. The neighborhood alert was lifted around 9:30 p.m.
Sheriff’s officials said the investigation into a suspect and motive is on-going.
Thursday Oct. 24, 5:30 p.m.:
The Douglas County Courthouse remains closed today as a result of the incident and courthouse employees were told not to report to work.
The Douglas County Courthouse in Waterville was evacuated this afternoon after an unknown substance was found in an election ballot.
Douglas County Undersheriff Tyler Caille is on scene and told KOHO elections officials called dispatch around 4 p.m. from the courthouse.
They were processing ballots when a white powdery substance fell out of an envelope when the ballot was removed. One of the four ballot counters had direct contact with the substance. The other three had indirect contact.
Caille said the elections office and entire courthouse was evacuated and the person with exposure was moderately decontaminated and taken to Central Washington Hospital for more treatment. Caille said the person wasn’t showing any symptoms. The other three personnel were taken to Confluence Health as well for precautionary check-ups.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office notified residents within a 150 feet of the courthouse and asked them to shelter in place.
The Washington State Patrol sent a hazmat team to further investigate what the substance is and how to proceed.
Caille called it a “complex scene.”