Anthrax Scare At Covenant House

covenantAn anthrax scare at an area shelter forced the evacuation of dozens of tenants.

It happened Friday afternoon at the Covenant House located just outside the French Quarter.

Members of New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, as well as Hazmat crews and FBI agents spent time Friday afternoon at the Covenant House, located on Rampart Street.

The emergency was triggered when a routine bag search turned up suspicious vials labeled anthrax.

“Somebody gave them to one of our kids on the street that was it,” Executive Director Jim Kelly said. “It was that simple.”

The Covenant House provides a safe haven for at risk youth between the ages of 16 and 21.

Friday’s anthrax scare was taken serious enough to evacuate the building of roughly 60-tenants.

One was seen walking outside of the building.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter asked,  “Why did that alarm you? Because I know what anthrax is? I know it’ll kill you, it’s airborne,” the unnamed tenant replied.

After careful inspection, investigators determined the vials discovered in a backpack labeled anthrax posed no serious threat.

“What I’m real pleased to be able to report to you, the FBI has informed me that these are not anthrax but they are vials used to test for anthrax; elements of an out of date test kit used sometimes by farmers and others,” Kelly said.

About an hour into the investigation, tenants were allowed to re-enter the building; soon after administrators were given the all clear.

“I’m thrilled everyone’s good,” Kelly said. “We’re looking forward to a great weekend and the Saints game.”

“It’s good that no one’s hurt,” the tenant said. “Everything’s fine.” “It’s all good.”

Administrators at the Covenant House say they planned to have a conversation with the tenant who owns the backpack.

They did not think the situation warrants disciplinary action.

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