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Workers at Kent post office distribution center treated for respiratory distress
Two workers at a post office distribution center in Kent were sent to a local hospital Thursday night after they encountered a leaking package while sorting mail.
Both workers complained of respiratory distress and coughing after finding a package that appeared to be leaking some sort of fluid, according to a Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority media release. The box was placed on the loading dock and 911 was called. Kent firefighters responded to the call and treated the two workers.
As a precaution, the fire department’s Hazardous Materials Response Team was brought in to analyze the liquid for identification.
The situation became more complicated when it was discovered that the contaminated box encountered by the workers was not the source of the leak, but that it came from another package altogether. The second package was located and the contents analyzed by the haz mat team.
According to the fire department, in incidents such as this, without more information about the material it is almost impossible to determine exactly what the material was given that there are tens of thousands of different chemicals and compounds.
The haz mat team was able to determine that the material was a respiratory irritant but that it was not explosive, radioactive, or immediately dangerous to life, and that it was stable.
The leaking and contaminated packages were sealed up and turned over to postal officials for further investigation as to their source.