UPDATE: Chili Powder Caused Hazardous Scare

Initial tests show a red powder found Monday morning outside a Greenville business was chili powder.

Eight people who worked at Precision Tune on Greenville Boulevard were sent to the hospital, complaining of scratchy, burning eyes. An employee who started to sweep the powder away began feeling chest pains and shortness of breath.

Pitt County Health Director John Morrow says they are conducting further tests to determine whether something else was mixed in with the powder to cause people to become sick.


The State Public Health Department is analyzing the sample of red powder found at a local Auto Care Center on Monday.

The sample was sent off as a priority to the state lab.

The Pitt County Emergency Management office says the results could be in as early as Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.

Business is back to normal as Precision Tune Auto Care Tuesday morning as workers returned the shop where the incident occurred.

All eight people sent to the hospital yesterday were treated and released Monday afternoon.

One of the managers of Precision Tube tells us, they're doing well and thank all the customers who called inquiring about their well-being.

Previous Story:

Police say a red powder was found early Monday morning on the front steps of Precision Tune Auto Care on Greenville Boulevard in Greenville. The business is located near the intersection of Greenville Boulevard and Evans Street.

An employee started to sweep the powder away and began feeling chest pains and shortness of breath.

Seven other people also had the same symptoms, including scratchy, burning eyes, and they were transported to the hospital as well.

Hospital officials tell WITN News the emergency room treated a small number of patients and none were seriously injured.

There is no word what the substance is. Hazmat teams have cleaned it up.

Greenville Boulevard is open.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by T Location: Washington on Feb 19, 2009 at 01:05 PM
    Hey, it could have been curry powder. I spent 15 months in Anbar Prov., Iraq (Camp Corregidor)and for the life of me I could never get used to curry. Went through lots of baby wipes. I know, TMI, but I thought I would share. See ya!!
  • by Lynne Location: Ayden on Feb 19, 2009 at 08:11 AM
    Does anyone realise that Chili powder is made of mainly chili peppers, the same thing that is used in Pepper Spray. Anyone remember all the hateful posts that were written about the ECU officers using pepper spray to control the "snowball fight" mob? How "irresponsible" it was for them to spray it into the crowd. Obviously people weren't certain what the powder was or what was in it and it was treated with all the seriousness that any attack should be given. Sometimes seemingly "harmless" pranks can cause huge problems. Just because it's "only chili powder" doesn't mean that it can't cause health problems or that it doesn't have other spices that the any of the victims could be allergic to.
  • by G. Gordon Liddy Location: top secret location on Feb 18, 2009 at 10:11 AM
    Sir before you take me to the hospital can you cut off that pot of chili on the stove.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Feb 18, 2009 at 06:57 AM
    At this rate, it must be a good thing that WITN has news at 5 and 5:30 as well.
  • by Annie Nonomus Location: Greenville on Feb 18, 2009 at 06:40 AM
    Just goes to show what the power of suggestion can do for you. All those people got sick and it was NOTHING!
  • by betty Location: cortland on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:50 AM
    I bet the people that went to the hospital feels like FOOLS now. They had Dollar signs in their eyes that is for sure.
  • by reader Location: nc on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:14 AM
    Weird story. Who would put chili powder in front of a business. Someone wants headlines mighty bad...
  • by Caroline Location: Gville on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:14 AM
    What kind of MEN work at Precision Tune! It's was Chili Powder for Pete's Sake! I bet when one complained they all saw potential dollar signs and followed lead!
  • by J J RAMBO on Feb 17, 2009 at 06:05 PM
    An true saying if you think you are sick one will be come sick. A man always thought he would get trapped in a refrigerated train car and freeze, They found him and a note to his family, it was only 59 degrees when they found him. True story
  • by ~ALPHA female~ Location: O84P on Feb 17, 2009 at 05:46 PM
    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL@ chili powder took grown people down. They were carried away on gurneys... because of chili powder!! LOL ...OMG I can't stop laughing. I'm sure the person who spilled the powder is afraid to come forward now.. because he is known as the "Chili Powder Killer" of Precision Lube. LOL.. OMG ..LOL
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