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State analysis: Mysterious powder found outside Nashua school identified as 'soil organisms or fungus'

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

October 03. 2017 9:12PM
Emergency crews were trying to identify a powdery substance in a large circle outside of Broad Street Elementary School in Nashua last month. (COURTESY)



NASHUA — Nashua Fire officials said the mysterious powdery substance found on the lawn of the Broad Street Elementary School last month came back from state analysis as being “soil organisms or fungus,” posing no danger to the public.

Deputy Fire Chief Glen MacDonald issued on Tuesday the final report of the New Hampshire Department of Public Health Lab on the substance that appeared the morning of Sept. 18 in a large, circular pattern on the lawn of the 390 Broad St. school.

“The substance sample was cultured and found to be a ‘mixed growth suggestive of soil organisms’ or fungus,” MacDonald said in his report.

“All involved organizations have been notified of the findings, and the area in question was deemed safe and returned to normal use.”

After the substance was seen, the Nashua Fire Rescue Hazmat Team had done its own analysis and found no chemical, biological or radiological hazards posed by the substance.

There were no reported symptoms of illnesses occurring among the school’s student or staff population, officials said.

“The City of Nashua thanks all agencies involved in fully resolving this unusual incident,” MacDonald added.

A large, blackish purple substance in a circle about 10 to 15 feet wide was first discovered by educators outside of Broad Street Elementary School. School administrators cordoned off the area as a precaution.

School security footage was viewed and no one was seen visiting the area or vandalizing the grass, officials said. A naturally occurring incident initially had been ruled out.

Parents received a message from school officials reassuring them their children were safe. The message stated that police and fire officials are investigating a “powdery substance found in the grass.”

According to officials, children were still able to play outside at the school since the playground is on the opposite side of the building.

klandrigan@unionleader.com


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