Gateway Community College issues all clear after incident that closed part of campus

NEW HAVEN -- A white, powdery substance, found in an inter-office envelope, shut down part of the Gateway Community College campus for two hours around Monday afternoon.

Just after 11 a.m., the human resources department, who's personnel discovered the powder, brought the envelope and the powder, which was wrapped in wax paper, to the school's security office, which reported the find to the New Haven Fire Department.

"I was in the cafeteria and they screamed 'everybody out, everybody out'. So they cleared the whole first floor," said Jennifer Castellone, a Gateway student.

"We have to, one, identify the substance and also make sure that the people that came into contact with it are medically evaluated," said Chief John Alston, of the New Haven Fire Department.

Seven people, who may have come in contact with the substance, were isolated. it turns out the substance was an "innocent household item" that was crushed into a powder, according to the Chief.

On the emergency responders checklist: the school's ventilation system, which was immediately shut down.

The uncertainty was nerve-racking.

It was because we didn't know what was going on," said Yaryanne Mecado, a Gateway student. "People saying bomb. People said radiation. Other people said cocaine."

Her mom was relieved to be reunited with her daughter about a half an hour before the school re-opened at approximately 1:15 p.m.

"I thought this never was going to happen to me," said Yadira Rodriguez of New Haven, with tears in her eyes. "Not even so close to my family, to my home, to my job, to everything It's scary, horrifying."