Mansfield town manager William Ross said that the powder scare at Robinson Elementary School last month wouldn’t cost the town much in terms of additional fiscal responsibility.
Ross said that since all Mansfield emergency personnel on site for the incident were on duty at the time, no additional funds were needed to cover.
“Everybody we had was already on duty. We did bring in the Hazmat team but they don’t charge for their service because we’re a member and we all work together on that. “
Mansfield wasn't the only town to get such a mysterious substance. Although the Mansfield and other recent incidents in Massachusetts have not been officially linked, they did occur in the same time span as 400 other connected incidents across the country and abroad.
"These folks need to be caught and stopped because it creates a dangerous situation for student staff and faculty for schools," Ross said.
The state Hazmat team didn't come cheap (for the state overall). The equipment and fuel per hour for a team runs about $1,500 alone, let alone the Federal Bureau of Investigation officers and investigation caused by the incident. According to the Associated Press, the combined total cost for all the incidents could be in the millions.
Ross said that this might not have been the case if Mansfield did not train and prepare for an emergency situation like this one.
"If we didn’t pre-plan and practice for this very things," he said. " Brenda [Hodges, superintendent of Mansfield Public Schools] and I were discussing that a couple of days after. While we hated to see the threat it did prove to us that the system works. In that respect it was a useful exercise, though not one we would like to have occur. In one sense it was a live exercise because we didn’t know what we had until the analysis was done."
Ross said the only payment the town would have to pay would be the emergency room bill for the Robinson staff member who was first exposed to the letter containing the powder substance.
An arguable detriment from the incident (aside from the initial shock, moral implications and tax dollars) would be a loss of a day for the students of Robinson.
"Imagine taking a whole school of young students across the street to another building keeping them their, feeding them etc., until such time until the building is deemed safe" Ross said. "Although, Brenda did say the kids had a good time because they got to go across the street and have lunch with the big kids."