A staffer for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened a letter Thursday that had white power inside. The front hall of the Mayor's Office was evacuated and closed off.
The male staffer who opened the letter is now stuck in the men's room, which is blocked off with yellow tape. He went to wash his hands, but was quarantined because a hazardous materials team thinks he could have been contaminated.
Others at City Hall seemed to think it was unlikely to turn out to be something dangerous, with people in the rotunda making jokes.
Mayor's spokesman Peter Sanders says the letter was opened at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
He says police and firefighters responded and 12 employees have evacuated. They remained outside waiting to return about an hour later.
Sanders says the mayor was in the office when the letter was received, but left for a meeting.
City fire spokesman Erik Scott says no one was injured, only a small team of firefighters was sent to the office and the situation appears to be under control.
This story has been updated.