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Bomb Squad Explodes Substance Found in City Building

Offices at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department were evacuated Wednesday after a container of picric acid was found in the basement of the health department building. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.

Louise Whall, spokesperson for the city of Springfield, said the picric acid discovered Wednesday morning was once a common agent used in lab and chemistry tests.

Picric acid is highly-nitrated compound, making it an explosive. Whall said although the amount found this morning was only about a cup's worth, this particular acid is shock-sensitive, which is why moving it was such an ordeal.

She said streets around the city government building were blocked off while a bomb squad removed and disposed of the hazardous chemical.

Whall said the volatile chemical could have been in the basement of the public health deparment building since the 1970s.