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Flour scare alerts fire, health, police and FBI officials

Posted: June 7, 2012 3:30 a.m.
Updated: June 7, 2012 3:30 a.m.

A Los Angeles County Fire Department Hazardous Material Squad is seen staged at Canyon Country Park on Wednesday. A suspicious balloon drew the attention of authorities.

Fire officials shut down a Canyon Country park Wednesday for about three hours and examined 60 Canyon Springs Elementary school children for possible exposure to hazardous materials when a balloon popped near the kids, spreading a white powder that turned out to be flour.

“The balloon popped on the bus,” Fire Department Capt. Mark Savage said. “The school district, the bus driver, everybody did what they were supposed to do,” he said. “This response was a precaution we had to take to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Along with the fire and sheriff’s departments, public health, public safety and the FBI responded to the park after the 12:23 p.m. call that a potentially hazardous material had been spilled on a bus at Canyon Country Park, fire officials said.

“The kids were on a field trip to the L.A. Mission,” Savage said. “One of them brought back a balloon that broke on the bus, spilling the powder on the bus.” The Sulphur Springs School District bus driver of yellow School Bus No. 101 did the right thing, Savage said.

“She immediately unloaded the kids off the bus and got them as far away from it as she could,” he said.

The substance was tested and turned out to be flour, according to a Sheriff’s Department release.

The fourth-grade students — who had taken a field trip that ended with a visit to the park — were playing at Canyon Country Park when alarm over the white powder was raised.

The park reopened just before 3 p.m., according to Sheriff’s Department officials.

After the powder was determined to be flour, the children were returned to the school for parents to pick them up.


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