Workers at postal distribution center sickened by leaking package


KENT, Wash. - Two workers at a Kent post office distribution center went to the hospital after they were sickened while sorting mail.

The workers were coughing and having trouble breathing after finding a package that appeared to be leaking some sort of fluid. The box was placed on the loading dock and 911 was called.

Firefighters from the Kent Fire Department responded and treated the two workers.

As a precaution, the fire department's hazmat team was brought in to analyze the liquid.  It was then discovered that the contaminated box encountered by the workers was not the source of the leak and the fluid had come from a different package.

Kent fire said that commonly, without more information, it is often almost impossible to determine exactly what the material is because there are tens of thousands of different chemicals and compounds.

The hazmat team was able to determine that the fluid was a respiratory irritant but was not “explosive, radioactive, or immediately dangerous to life, and that it was stable.”

The leaking and contaminated packages were sealed and turned over to postal officials for further investigation as to their source.

The workers were not seriously injured.

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