Relief at Police Department after 'fizzing' package proves harmless

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Police Headquarters was partially evacuated around 12:30 p.m. Friday while a suspicious package was investigated.

The package was brought by police to the building around noon as evidence in a narcotics investigation, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department. The package began "fizzing," and the building was evacuated except for the 911 call center.

But initial tests showed the package was not dangerous, nor was it intended to harm anyone at the police station, Moloney said. Gwinnett Fire Department's Hazmat Unit determined the package was not radioactive or explosive, nor did it contain any deadly chemicals.

"You got a bunch of people standing outside in the heat, but that's the worst of it," he said.

Moloney suggested that substances used to mask the smell of drugs may have been the cause of the alarming chemical reaction that prompted the evacuation. He said tests will be run to determine what chemicals or drugs were actually in the package.

Police blocked off Hi-Hope Road in front of the Police Department while police teams swept the area around the building. Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said two police officers who came in direct contact with the package showered and bagged their clothing as part of a decontamination process.

Nobody was injured and most police officers and employees relocated to a school administration building across the street.