• Police respond to suspicious substance found in building downtown

    Police responded to a call Friday morning after a report of a suspicious white, powdery substance found in a Travis County office building downtown.

    An initial investigation determined the substance to be benign, according to Austin Fire Department spokesman Palmer Buck. The substance will additionally be tested in a lab.

    Seven people were exposed to the unknown white powder substance, according to Buck. Those people were being monitored by the Travis County EMS, but had not exhibited any symptoms.

    The Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s office, FBI and Fire department responded to the call that came in at 10:30 Friday morning at the building located at Lavaca and 7th Street downtown. Buck said once the fire at the DoubleTree Hotel was under control, some firefighters were immediately sent to respond to the substance call.

    Karina Roque, international relations and global studies junior, showed up to her internship to find the building sealed by the police. Roque said she was surprised to find the building surrounded by law enforcement.

    “You run the risk, but I didn’t expect [a bomb threat] to happen,” Roque said. “You don’t come expecting there to be a bomb threat.”

    Buck said the police and fire departments take bomb and substance threats seriously in an effort to protect the public.

    “We take these types of calls seriously,” Buck said. “We want to make sure the people inside the building are okay and we want to make sure we do our due diligence in the investigation to make sure that we can reassure the people in the building that everything is going to be okay.”

    The primary tenant in the building was the Travis County Auditor’s Office. It was unclear what floor of the building the substance was found.


  • Power restored in eight campus buildings after reported outages

    Eight buildings on campus experienced power outages this morning. UTPD received a call about the outages at approximately 9:55 a.m., according to spokeswoman Cindy Posey.

    The university's load controller, which ensures power stays on despite any major fluxations in usage, failed to adequately deal with the power being generated and contributed to the outage, Posey said. 

    Outages were reported in the Perry Castendena Library, the University Teaching Center, the Harry Ransom Center, the Speedway Garage, North Office Building A, the Charles E. Seay Building and both the McCombs School of Business and the Graduate School of Business buildings.

    The University sent out an alert email at 10:18 a.m. stating power has been restored in all buildings.

  • Fire extinguished at DoubleTree Hotel downtown

    The Austin Fire Department extinguished a fire at the DoubleTree Hotel on 15th St., between Lavaca and Guadalupe streets downtown Friday morning. 

    AFD officials said the fire started in the kitchen on the bottom floor, and smoke made its way up to the top floors through the hotel’s ventilation system.

    More than a dozen fire crews responded to the scene. There were no injuries reported. 

  • UTPD: Person assaulted and robbed near campus

    A person was assaulted and robbed in the Renaissance market area on Guadalupe Street on Thursday evening, according to a UT Safety Alert email.

    The victim, who is not affiliated with UT, was able to describe two of the five suspects who left the area, Austin police informed UTPD.

    The two suspects were men – one had short blond hair, and the other had brown hair with shoulder-length dreadlocks. Both suspects appeared to be homeless, according to the email.

    No arrests have been made.

    UTPD urged students, faculty and staff who see anyone matching the suspect descriptions to dial 911 or call 512-471-4441.