Posted at 2 p.m. April 1.

Residence Hall evacuated after report
of potentially hazardous material

Guard officials say materials nonhazardous

Evacuated students living in Laramie County Community College’s Residence Hall were cleared to return to their rooms around 10 p.m., March 31, by emergency personnel responding to a report of a suspicious container and possible chemical hazard, the LCCC director of campus safety said.

Laramie County Fire District No. 1 responded to the LCCC campus after a Residence Hall adviser called in a potentially hazardous container thought to contain ricin, a potent biological toxin, Director James Crosby said.

After checking the chemical label of an “old milk jug” brought into LCCC’s Residence Hall by other students, the adviser notified campus safety of the container, who then notified the fire department, Crosby said.

Ty Stockton, LCCC’s director of public relations, said the first tests LCFD No. 1 conducted reported the chemicals had been identified as pesticides.

After further testing, LCFD No. 1 Fire Chief Darrick Mittlestadt said Wyoming Air National Guard’s 84th Civil Support Team identified photo-developer, dechlorinator and fungicide in the container. The 84th CST, which worked in conjunction with the responding hazardous materials team, reported the chemicals were nonhazardous, Mittlestadt said. However, Mittlestadt told Stockton and Crosby to inform students to wash their hands thoroughly if they came into contact with any unknown chemicals.

Crosby said potentially contaminated Residence Hall students were evacuated and quarantined to the Physical Education Building’s multipurpose room for nearly three hours by the fire department and campus safety personnel. After determining the nature of the chemicals, the LCFD No. 1 said no students displayed chemical-related health concerns and were released to the Residence Hall, Crosby said.

Dean of Students Judy Hay said she believed this was most likely a case of curiosity but said LCCC would conduct an after-action investigation. She said it was unlikely the students would be reprimanded. “I don’t know if an isolated incident like this warrants awareness classes,” Hay said. “We’ll look into [the incident] and go from there.”

Students interested in receiving LCCC-related alerts can sign up for LCCC’s emergency alert system by visiting their EaglesEye account and clicking on "My EaglesEyeAlert" under the "MyCruiser" tab.