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Wal-Mart reopens after evacuation closes store for two hours

By Staff | Dec 20, 2009

The Wal-Mart store on Del Prado Boulevard has re-opened after an evacuation closed the store for two hours Sunday afternoon when an unidentified person entered and allegedly threw a white powdery substance at an employee.
Fears of a Haz-Mat situation prompted store and Cape Coral fire officials to evacuate what one witness said were “hundreds” shoppers.
“You would not belive the number of people in that store,” said Cape resident Mark Lewis. “There must have been 500 people in there.”
Lewis was standing around in the parking lot of Wal-Mart waiting for the OK to re-enter the store.
Lewis said he had just made inside the store’s threshold before being told to turnaround and head back outside.
“I just walked in and turned right back around,” he said. “Everybody came out of the store real nice and quick. It was very calm.”
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said they were letting shoppers back into the store around 3 pm, after the white powder substance was discovered to be non-hazardous.
“It didn’t turn out to be anything,” Barron said.
Barron added that the Cape Coral Police did not have a suspect in custody as of Sunday afternoon, nor any new information.
Karen Guglielmi was standing in line, getting ready to pay for her groceries when she said a store employee made the announcement to evacuate.
She said the evacuation process was very civil, and there was pushing or shoving.
“We were told to drop everything and evacuate,” she said, while standing in the Publix parking lot next door to Wal-Mart. “But it was very orderly.”
Guglielmi’s car was also being serviced in Wal-Mart’s auto shop at the time, so she was stuck.
“I had only been in the store for about an hour before it all happened,” she added.
According to Barron, no one was taken to the hospital for further treatment.
Cape fire evacuated the store and along with Fort Myers Fire Department conducted tests on the substance using a spectrometer to analyze the composition.
There was no indication that the substance was hazardous.
An investigation into the incident is continuing.