Officials have dismissed the spraying of white powder over the Grassmire subdivision in Clarksville, Tennessee late Thursday afternoon as a coincidence.
There were rumors that a plane or helicopter spread a mysterious substance over the neighborhood, according to FBI Special Agent Bret Murray. Residents were told to stay indoors with their doors and windows closed. The substance tested negative for anthrax, and turns out to have been ash from a nearby fire at a construction site. It blew over the neighborhood, rather than being dropped out of the sky, but residents believed it was dropped by planes because the neighborhood is in the flight pattern of nearby Outlaw Field, he says.
Lt. Geno Grubbs, a police department spokesman, says the FBI confirmed that two blue and white King Air twin prop airplanes with retractable landing gear flew over the area between 4 and 5 p.m. and landed at nearby Outlaw Field. The pilots were from out of town, and they left Outlaw Field about 6:30 p.m. ?We suspect no foul play or any hoaxes,? says Murray. ?You have to take everything seriously. But a subdivision in North Clarksville would probably not be the target for a terrorist attack. But we are concerned about possible hoaxes.?
The EPA is performing tests to determine if hazardous substances such as arsenic, lead or PCBs were in the powder. Clarksville Fire Marshall Ray Williams says the controlled burn was permitted for that construction site and that the substances being burned were not harmful.
Area resident Joseph Molloy says not everyone was warned. ?They said they went by everyone?s house and told them to keep windows closed and turn off the heat, but no one ever came by here.?
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