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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 10, 2005

Traffic resumes after minor incident at Sprint Center site

Traffic around the downtown construction site of the Sprint Center has resumed normal flow after emergency officials declared the area safe following a minor demolition incident this morning.

The Fire Department and the Police Department were called to the scene at 1317 Grand Ave. after a canister discharged a deterrent agent at 9 this morning while workers were performing routine demolition activities. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has determined that the event was not the result of a criminal act and therefore, there will not be a criminal investigation into the matter.

“This is a minor incident and we are taking every possible precaution to make sure our workers are safe and that the site does not pose a danger to them or others,” said Blake Ellis, program manager for the Sprint Center demolition. Ellis is employed by Burns & McDonnell. “We are uncertain as to whether work will resume at the site today as our top priority is to ensure safety.”

As a precautionary measure, four workers received decontamination services from the Fire Department. Some demolition workers experienced irritated eyes, however police and fire personnel have confirmed that no injuries were reported.

The site is the former location of the Little Mexico restaurant. The canisters were attached to the door frame of an old vault. Prior to 1975, canisters like these were used commonly as vault protection systems. Test results from the FBI are expected this afternoon and will pinpoint the exact agent that was emitted.

    
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