Hazmat concern prompts evacuation near U of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities are trying to determine if the deadly toxin ricin is the hazardous material that prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people from an apartment complex near the University of Minnesota.

The Minneapolis Fire Department tweeted that the evacuation Tuesday in the Dinkytown area involved an “unconfirmed report of ricin,” a poison found naturally in castor beans.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder says police and fire crews responded around 4 p.m. to a medical situation possibly caused by a hazardous material in an apartment. Elder says first responders learned the victim had gone to a hospital, and emergency crews began evacuating the building.

A hazmat team entered the building, found the substance and took it to the Minnesota Health Laboratory for identification.

Authorities believe the possible contamination was limited to one apartment.

The Star Tribune reports fire crews evacuated The Marshall, an apartment complex that caters to students, and sealed off the area.

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