Update: Berkeley City College evacuated after 3 people who saw white powder in a restroom felt dizzy

Berkeley City College. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

Update, 4 p.m. A representative from the Peralta Community College District, which is comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College — told Berkeleyside on Twitter that “The analysis of the substance came back non-hazardous and the building was cleared for normal operation and occupancy.”

Update, 2:25 p.m. Assistant Berkeley Fire Chief Keith May, department spokesman, said Friday’s evacuation order at Berkeley City College came after three people who saw white powder on a bathroom floor Thursday later reported feeling dizzy.

The school superintendent passed on those reports to authorities in Berkeley on Friday. The Fire Department then ordered the evacuation and called in its hazmat team, May said.

Police and firefighters investigated the possible hazmat report and found a white powdery substance in a restroom garbage can, May said. It had already been cleaned off the floor, he said.


Firefighters tested the substance, which did not come back as any sort of deadly chemical, May said.

The hazmat team could not identify the substance. They removed it from the area for disposal, May said. Firefighters also found nothing of concern in the building from air monitoring tests.

No one reported feeling sick Friday, May added.

The people who had felt sick Thursday had no additional symptoms that he knew of, May said. But they were not available Friday to speak with authorities.

No further information was available Friday about those individuals, such as their genders or student status at Berkeley City College. The college has not responded to multiple requests for comment from Berkeleyside.

Update, 2:05 p.m. The evacuation order was lifted at about 2 p.m. and normal operations at the college resumed, according to unconfirmed reports from the police radio.

Original story, 1:54 p.m. Authorities evacuated Berkeley City College on Friday afternoon in connection with the discovery of white powder in a fourth-floor restroom.

The college, at 2050 Center St. — west of Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley — was evacuated around 1:15 p.m.

According to the Berkeley Fire Department, authorities were asked to do a hazardous materials investigation after someone reported feeling ill after seeing white powder in the restroom Thursday.

Authorities located the white powder Friday and planned to remove it for assessment. The Berkeley Fire Department went through the building Friday and found no other hazards, according to unconfirmed scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Berkeley City College did not respond Friday to multiple requests for information about the evacuation.

Berkeleyside will update this story as more details are made available.