WA courthouse evacuated in powder threat hoax

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) -- An envelope containing powder and a note with the word "anthrax" prompted a two-hour evacuation of the Whatcom County Courthouse in Bellingham, Wash. The county executive says a hazmat team determined the envelope contained powdered aspirin.

Executive Pete Kremen said 22 people nearby when the envelope was opened Wednesday afternoon were isolated until the powder could be checked out.

The county's Superior Court administrator, N.F. Jackson, tells the Bellingham Herald that a worker in the court clerk's office put the envelope in a biohazard bag, washed her hands and called 911 after seeing something inside the envelope with "anthrax" written on it.

Jackson says the envelope appeared to have been sent through the mail by an inmate in jail or state prison. The newspaper says the FBI is working with local agencies to find the sender.