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Social Security building evacuates due to suspicious package

on October 11, 2013

The suspicious package that caused panic at the Social Security Administration building on Nevin Avenue this morning turned out to be nothing more than flashlights and batteries, Richmond Fire Chief Michael Banks said. About 375 people were evacuated at 10 a.m. after the suspicious package was found.

Federal security guards had X-rayed it, and thought they saw wiring, an electronic device and an unknown substance, police said. Police arrived at the scene at 10:07 a.m., and evacuated about 125 people from nearby residences on Barrett and Roosevelt avenues, said Richmond Police Captain Mark Gagan.

The UC Berkeley bomb squad arrived an hour later, but its bomb-detecting robot was unable to determine the contents of the package, Banks said.

Social Security Administration employees returned to work after police discovered the package contained nothing more than harmless household items.  Between 350 and 400 federal employees had been furloughed as part of the government shutdown, but were expected to be at work even without pay.

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