WESTERLY — The Cumberland Farms on Friendship Street was closed through much of the afternoon Monday after a worker discovered a white, powdery substance later determined to be fentanyl on the bathroom floor.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said a complaint made by an employee led officers to discover that the discarded powder contained fentanyl, and that it was later discovered that someone had stepped in the powder and tracked the substance into the store, which led police to close the business entirely.
"At that point, it was unclear what impact this could have in terms of putting customers at risk for exposure, so a decision was made to close the store," Lacey said. "Workers with a cleanup crew, Trauma 24, were on scene to do a thorough cleaning and the store was expected to reopen later (Monday night)."
Westerly police officers were called to the 69 Friendship St. convenience store shortly after 11 a.m. to investigate a white, powdery substance discovered by an employee.
The substance was believed to have been contained to the bathroom, Lacey said, and an officer was stationed at the store while other police transported the substance for secure testing at the Westerly Police Department. Lacey said those tests determined the substance was a risk, due to the presence of fentanyl, and the bathroom was closed around 12:15 p.m.
By 1 p.m., however, officers discovered a foot print that appeared to contain the same substance within the grocery section of the store, leading to further concerns. The store was closed around 1 p.m. and remained closed as of early evening.
Lacey said an early investigation, which included use of surveillance cameras on the property, determined the substance was likely left in the bathroom just before closing the night before.
The case remains under investigation, Lacey said. Further details were not immediately available.