Polk County (FL) Fire Rescue Responds to Hazmat Call at Correctional Institution

Polk County crews at the hazmat scene.

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Polk County (FL) Fire Rescue’s hazmat crews were called to the Hardee Correctional Institution Wednesday after workers from the prison found a white powdery substance on mail at the facility.

Polk Fire crews were dispatched around 4:50 p.m. through a mutual aid agreement.

When Polk Fire’s hazmat crews arrived, they were told workers from the prison were sorting through the mail and came across an envelope with a powdery substance in it. The room was quarantined and Polk Fire’s hazmat was called.

“The entry team went in to perform a recon of the affected room and the suspicious letter,” said Polk County Fire Rescue’s Lt. Rudy Socorro. “The crews monitored the air and no changes were noted in any field.”

The crews took samples of the powder for testing, which was determined to be yellow cake mix. The FBI and Florida Department of Health were updated and there was no evidence of threat or harm. The FBI coordinator stated that they would not pursue this incident due to there not being any malicious intent.

“Polk County Fire Rescue’s hazmat team is a great asset and we are truly grateful,” said Interim Fire Chief for Hardee County, Joseph Walker. “We really appreciate their assistance when it comes to matters like these.”

Hardee County does not have its own hazmat team, but has agreements with neighboring counties to provide service when needed.

“Hardee Correctional Institution would like to thank Polk County Fire Rescue for their quick response and assistance,” said Travis Lamb, Warden of Hardee Correctional Institution.

“Polk County is happy to help other counties when we can, said Polk Fire Chief Tony Stravino. “That’s why we form agreements with municipalities and neighboring counties. We share a common goal and all have to work together.”

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