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Canadian Office Workers Quarantined

March 22, 2001

TORONTO (AP) _ Police sealed off sections of two downtown Toronto buildings and prevented their occupants from leaving for several hours Thursday until tests showed packages containing a suspicious substance did not hold anthrax.

Hundreds of other people were evacuated from the buildings because of the possibility the gray granular substance could be hazardous, police said.

Sgt. Robb Knapper said 60 people on the 14th floor of one building were prevented from leaving for three hours until tests could be performed on the material, which reportedly was accompanied with a note claiming it was anthrax.

The tests ruled out the deadly virus, but authorities said they were unsure what the substance was.

Workers stood in the streets as fire crews and police arrived at the building, where Toronto residents get passports, driver’s licenses and other government documents.

Soon after, an unknown number of people were confined to the 19th floor of another building after two packages were delivered containing a similar substance.

``I do believe it’s the same type of granular substance that was found″ at the first building, Knapper said.

In January, another Toronto building was cleared due to delivery of a suspect package. Testing later determined the package was harmless.

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