Story Highlights• Several blocks of Staten Island evacuated after chemicals found
• Person ordered what appears to be potassium nitrate, according to ATF official
• Potassium nitrate can be used in firecrackers, gunpowder, cleaning septic tanks
From Eden Pontz
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Several blocks of Staten Island, New York, were evacuated as police investigated a "large amount" of chemicals found inside a home, police said.
Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene Thursday night questioning an individual who ordered what "appears to be potassium nitrate" from a dealer in Ohio, an ATF official said.
The dealer notified the ATF after the individual placed a second order for delivery in August.
The ATF told New York police it was planning to question the person, and NYPD followed up by mobilizing a bomb squad and hazmat teams, the ATF official said.
Potassium nitrate can be used to make black powder found in firecrackers and rocket fuel, and it is the oxidizing oxygen-supplying component of gunpowder. It is also used in cleaning septic tanks.
Officials from local police and fire departments, the state Department of Environmental Protection and ATF were trying to determine exactly what kind of chemicals were inside, police said.
Police were seen removing items from the home.
ATF officials said no federal explosives violations had been discovered as of Thursday night, but said there might be a possibility of storage violations.
CNN's Deb Feyerick, Jeanne Meserve, Kevin Boh and Richard Davis contributed to this report.
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