Washington – D.C. police have assisted in the complete evacuation and shutdown of the Canadian embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue. Moreover they have closed down a portion of the street to investigate a letter that contained a suspicious substance, according to Authorities on Friday morning.
The suspicious letter was discovered in the mailroom, an embassy spokesman said.
The embassy’s 325 employees were evacuated at around 9:30 a.m. and spilled onto Pennsylvania Avenue, a major artery in Washington that leads to the White House just 2.4 km away.
The Metropolitan Police Department dispatched its Domestic Security Operations team, a unit within the Homeland Security Division that specializes in chemicals and hazardous materials, said Officer Araz Alali, a spokesman.
Police said the call to the embassy in the 500 block of Pennsylvania Ave., NW was received about 8:50 a.m. Pennsylvania Avenue from the 400 block to the 600 block was ordered closed in both directions, between 4th and 6th streets. At 10 a.m., police opened the eastbound lanes of Pennsylvania Avenue.
A segment of nearby C Street was initially closed, but it has reopened. Traffic can still move in both directions on 6th Street and Constitution Avenue, so drivers can use those roads to get around the closure.
Details of the letter and what substance it might contain inside were not immediately revealed. The embassy is located near The Mall and the National Gallery of Art, as well as several D.C. government buildings, including the U.S. and District courthouses and police headquarters.
Numerous police cars and fire trucks were on the scene.