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Traffic Alert: Pennsylvania Ave and 9th Street NW About to Reopen

UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): Streets remain closed, but the fire department has given the all clear for a suspicious package that has snarled traffic downtown for the past three hours. Authorities say they will open to normal traffic soon.

Someone placed a few petri dishes in the night deposit bank at the Wachovia branch at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue -- just across the street from FBI headquarters, according to D.C. Fire and E.M.S. spokesman Pete Piringer.

D.C. police, assisted by FBI officers, blocked off the streets around the area for (now) about three hours. Authorities quickly ruled out explosives, but a Hazardous Materials team tested the petri dishes for biological contaminants, Piringer said, adding that the field tests all came out negative.

The petri dishes will still go to a laboratory where more extensive testing can be done over the next 24 to 48 hours, Piringer said. Bank employees, who discovered the dishes while processing the night's deposits, called police around 11 a.m. Employees were quarantined while the HazMat team did its tests. The employees were told to wash their hands and given the opportunity to take a change of clothes provided by the fire department, Piringer said.

An investigation into who put the dishes there is ongoing.

ORIGINAL POST (12:31 p.m.): A suspicious package investigation has closed Pennsylvania Avenue from 7th to 9th sts NW. In addition, 9th Street remains closed from E Street NW to Constitution ave. Officials are not making estimates as to when the closure will end. Commuters are warned to avoid the area.

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  September 29, 2009; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion , Driving , Safety  
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Next: Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU Station Reopens

Comments

While this is helpful information, I find it disconcerting and insensitive that WaPo is not reporting this as, um, a SAFETY THREAT to Washingtonians. I am stuck in one of the buildings that is shut down due to this "suspicious package" and am taken aback that a serious safety threat to hundreds of people nearby is reported only as a traffic alert. In all likelihood this is a false alarm, but it is negligent and insensitive of the Post to run this only as a traffic issue.

Posted by: amacphe | September 29, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey amacphe: The sky is falling! The ski is falling!

Posted by: djjd | September 29, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

djjd said: Hey amacphe: The sky is falling! The ski is falling!

. . . .

If the ski is falling, the WP should warn us to clear the slope. . . .

Posted by: dottie_b | September 29, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Do you think it would be a good idea to include a map of the affected area?

Posted by: kcwhitney | September 29, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Don't panic. It's only Michelle's latest package from her shopping spree! I'm sure she'll look absolutely ravishing on her next date night in Copenhagen.

Posted by: panamajack | September 29, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Would be nice if we had some form of update. It's been four hours since the first alert went out and no new information.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | September 29, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Amacphe agree did you with the CNN handling of the BANG BANG Potomac river suspicious radio traffic? If you are in a building affected by the shutdown then the last place you should be looking for information is the WP online. Talk to your building security people, talk to the police, sit in your office and read the Sports section of the WP but don't use it for a source of information about what is happening to you. For the rest of us, at this time, this is a simple a commuter issue.

Posted by: crete | September 29, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

amacphe wrote:
"While this is helpful information, I find it disconcerting and insensitive that WaPo is not reporting this as, um, a SAFETY THREAT to Washingtonians. I am stuck in one of the buildings that is shut down due to this "suspicious package" and am taken aback that a serious safety threat to hundreds of people nearby is reported only as a traffic alert."

############################

Did you just get to D.C., like, yesterday?

These "suspicious packages" are investigated all the time. If every one was treated as front-page news, there'd be no room for anything else.

If you feel unsafe in your office, I advise you to evacuate. You don't need to Washington Post's permission to do that.

Posted by: arlingtonresident | September 29, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

This is near the FBI building, a prime target for a LOT of angry people...

I also find it strange it's been over four hours. Sure, we get plenty of suspicious packages, and they just blow them up with the little water canon...

I have to wonder if this is something much more serious.

Posted by: cibor | September 29, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

to view a partial list of crimes committed by FBI agents over 1500 pages long see
http://www.forums.signonsandiego.com/showthread.php?t=59139

to view a partial list of FBI agents arrested for pedophilia see
http://www.dallasnews.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3574

Posted by: mabumford | September 29, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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