Today’s news:

DUMBO Warehouse Under Lockdown

A DUMBO warehouse was quarantined Wednesday afternoon after a Manhattan dancer who worked in a studio there came down with anthrax. Roping off the streets and donning Hazmat suits, police and fire officials went into Pinnacle Storage, located at 2 Prince Street at Concord Street about 3 p.m. on February 22, collecting samples. Artists working in the studios and storage spaces were banned from exiting and entering the building until they were cleared, officials said. The investigation was sparked by reports that a local dancer had contracted an inhaled a form of anthrax. The victim, Vado Diomande, passed out after having difficulty breathing during a performance in Pennsylvania last week. Doctors determined Tuesday that he was suffering from inhalation anthrax. Officials believe that he was exposed either during a recent trip to the Ivory Coast or at the DUMBO warehouse, as he turned skinned animal hides he brought to the United States with him into drums to be used in his routine. Diomande was still in the hospital, but recovering, according to authorities, who believe that his entire ordeal is an isolated incident and not related to any terrorist plot. “We have every reason to believe that this infection is an isolated, accidentally and naturally transmitted case,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference Wednesday. “There is no — let me repeat — no evidence of any criminal intent associated with this infection.” Doctors assert that Diomande was suffering from anthrax spores that occur in nature. The bacteria, which are usually found in the dirt, can sometimes be swept up in an animal’s hair. Humans can become infected after inhaling the spores during the tanning process of animal hides. “If you didn’t work with the hides you’re not going to contract anthrax,” the Mayor said, assuring post 9/11 New Yorkers that the spores had no chance of spreading. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center, the city was gripped in fear when several anthrax laced letters were sent to political leaders as well as journalist Tom Brokaw. Friends and colleagues describe Diomande a renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher. He’s considered to be the Ivory Coast’s “leading ambassador of music and dance.” Six dancers and drummers make up his Kotchegna Dance Company, which was founded in 1989. Diomande’s dancers, which, according to their website are “rapidly establishing itself as one of the most exciting African troupes in the United States,” have performed at Lincoln Center as well as the Philadelphia International Children’s Festival. They also recently took part in a special performance at the United Nations, the web site noted. Officials said that this is the first case of inhalation anthrax to hit the United States in thirty years. As of Thursday afternoon, Hazmat teams were still inside the converted warehouse, taking samples. So far, investigators have determined that no anthrax had been “deliberately produced” at the location.

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