A white powder suspected of being a controlled substance was found in the sleeping quarters of a Houston firehouse. Sources tell FOX 26 News the package was in a blue bag and appeared to be a kilo of cocaine.
It was discovered Thursday night at Station 17 on Navigation Boulevard just east of downtown Houston.
Employees on the evening shift at that station were drug-tested and told not to return to work that night, according to Jeff Caynon with the Houston Professional Fire Fighters' Association.
"In the interest of the public and the other firefighters there, the fire department made the decision to test everyone and send everyone home," Caynon said.
While the suspected stash turned up in the dormitory area, which is less accessible to the public than the ambulance bays, Caynon cautions against concluding that it must have been brought in by a firefighter.
"Fire stations, while they feel like home to us, are public buildings," he said. "And people have access to those buildings, sometimes even when we're not there."
The Houston Fire Department is conducting an administrative probe, while the Major Offenders Division of the Houston Police Department handles the criminal investigation.
Caynon points out that Houston's drug-testing procedure – random checks with essentially a "one strike and you're out" protocol – is among the strictest in the state.
"Houston police officers and firefighters have got one of the single most restrictive policies in the state of Texas," said the union boss. "And so it would be astonishing to me if this was a firefighter."