An ‘unknown powder substance’ temporarily closed a Roxbury polling location. Turns out it was baking soda.

The polling location reopened after less than 45 minutes, police said.

Haz-mat team responds to Roxbury polling location
A hazardous materials team responded to a Roxbury polling location, but a "white powder substance" turned out to be baking soda. –Boston Fire Department via Twitter

A polling location in Roxbury was temporarily shut down Thursday night when an “unknown powder substance” was found inside an envelope containing an absentee ballot.

Boston police responded to 735 Shawmut Ave. at 4:37 p.m., department spokesman David Estrada said.

The fire department’s hazardous materials team was called in, but the substance was quickly deemed “innocuous and not suspicious in nature,” according to police.

It was baking soda.

The polling location was “closed for a short time” while the teams worked to identify the substance.

By 5:16 p.m., polls were reopened to voters, Estrada said.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.



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