Marsh Mercer Evacuated Over Suspicious Package, Hazmat Gives All-Clear

URBANDALE, Iowa --  It was a scary situation in Urbandale today after the Marsh Mercer building was evacuated due to a suspicious package.

Just after 9:15 Thursday morning Marsh Mercer employees received a suspicious package and called police.

“When they arrived, they were alerted to the fact that a manila envelope was mailed to the business that contained a brown powder in it” said Urbandale Police Spokesman Sgt. Chad Underwood.

From there the business was put under voluntary evacuation while police started their investigation and called in the Des Moines hazmat team. The hazmat team's tests of the substance gave everyone a sigh of relief.

“The Hazmat team deemed that the substance that was found inside the building was nonhazardous and no one was in danger” said Underwood.

The police department's investigation found there was a return address on the envelope and was able to contact the sender.

“I will say at this point that we don't think that there was anything dangerous or malintent at this time” said Underwood.

The situation is a good reminder for those in an office building what to do should you find a similar package. According to the Polk County Website:

  • Do not panic!
  • If possible, place the item in a plastic bag or containment system and seal it unless you suspect it could be explosive
  • If you suspect it may be explosive, evacuate immediately.
  • Stay in your office or immediate work area. Make sure your co-workers do the same (Evacuate to a secondary location if you suspect an explosive)
  • Prevent others from entering the area
  • Call 9-1-1. Be prepared to give authorities the exact location of the incident, the number of people potentially exposed, a description of the package or device, and a summary of actions taken
  • Keep your hands away from your face
  • If possible without leaving your work area, wash your hands
  • Wait for help to arrive

Police say situations like these also keep them sharp.

“We take a lot of precautions to keep everybody safe, this is another one of those things we do as police where it takes a little bit of diligence to get everyone through it and get it done the right way. We've completed our investigation and determined nobody was in any danger, so at the end of the day it was a good result” said Underwood.

Marsh Mercer had no comment and instructed their employees not to speak with the media.