CHILHOWIE, Va. — A Chilhowie police officer was hospitalized Thursday after being exposed to a narcotic powder at Town Hall, authorities said.

At about noon, there was a problem at the Chilhowie Police Department, which is at the Town Hall, involving evidence confiscated during an arrest the prior evening, according to a town news release.

While processing the evidence, a small amount of an unknown substance was released, exposing a police officer, the release states.

Following protocol, the officer, who was not identified, was transported to Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon to be assessed. The officer was later released.

As a precaution, the Chilhowie Town Hall, including the Police Department, was closed pending further investigation by the Virginia State Police.

The State Police hazardous materials team and Sgt. R. Hafley responded to the scene. Hafley said the VSP tested the substance to rule out the possibility that it was another dangerous substance, such as anthrax. The sergeant said the powder tested positive as a narcotic, but he could not say what kind of narcotic.

Chilhowie police did not respond to questions regarding the confiscated evidence or provide information about the prior arrest.

Town Hall reopened by 4 p.m. Thursday, and a scheduled Town Council meeting was held in the chambers.

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