Employees and Customers React to Anthrax Scare at DMV

By: Garin Flowers; Mike Springer Email
By: Garin Flowers; Mike Springer Email

By: Garin Flowers

An anthrax scare shuts down a state office building, and more than 1,000 workers are forced to evacuate.

We know that it appears to be a hoax, but it was a scary moment for folks at the department of highway safety and motor vehicles.

"I see everybody's out so when I called, they told me, you know, stay out of the building," Ashlea Whiddon, DHSMV Employee, said.

For Ashlea Whiddon, it was supposed to be a normal day on the job.

She works at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles off of Apalachee parkway.

She couldn't even get in the building Monday morning, because of an anthrax scare.

"Just worried, worried what's going on, you know, what's gonna happen," Whiddon said. "If anybody was hurt, you know, you just don't know."

The Tallahassee Fire Department says a letter was sent to the second floor of the DHSMV building. They say the letter claimed to have anthrax in it.

A record officer found it and notified authorities. The TFD hazmat team arrived around 8:40 a.m.

"I've lived here all my life and I just don't understand the thought process of people, period," Rochelle Frankline, Local Resident, said.

The letter was found sometime around 8 a.m., and by noon, authorities say the letter tested negative for explosives, and radioactive chemicals.

It's since been sent to a lab in Jacksonville for further testing. Six employees were also quarantined, but were later cleared.

"Everybody seems to feel good," Lt. Mike Bellamy, Tallahassee Fire Department, said. "Nobody is symptomatic at all. No body has any sign or system and everybody is in fairly decent spirits considering they had their Monday turned upside down."

The Florida Department of Health says its lab will test for further suspicious substances. Results will then go back to the submitter and appropriate law enforcement agency.


By: Mike Springer

Employees from the DMV returned to their office only a few hours ago.

The employees were shut out for several hours as an Anthrax scare was being investigated.

Taped off and shut out. This is the scene employees from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles arrived to Monday morning.

"It's never good when you drive up here and see all this going on, especially with everything else in the news," Ashley Whiddon, Employee, said.

Officials evacuated the building of its nearly 15 hundred employees after the records department received a letter saying it contained Anthrax.

Six employees who were near the letter when it was opened were quarantined inside the building. Authorities have not identified them at this time.

"Everybody seems to feel good. No body is symptomatic at all," Lt. Mike Bellamy, Tallahassee Fire Department, said. "No body has any sign or system and everybody is in fairly decent spirits considering they had their Monday turned upside down."

Around 1 p.m., employees returned to work.

"I just don't understand the thought process of people," Rochelle Franklin, DMV Customer, said. "It's scary. It is."

The letter and envelop are being sent to the Florida Department of Health's Lab in Jacksonville for further analysis.

There were a couple of customers we saw trying to get into the DMV today to renew some of licenses and they were noticiabled frustrated about not being able to get in.

As for the six employees who were quarantined, officials say they could return to work as soon as tomorrow.


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