Kent postal workers hospitalized after hazmat exposure

Kent postal workers hospitalized after hazmat exposure
KENT, Wash. - Two workers at a post office distribution center were sent to the hospital Thursday night after they handled 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. The box was placed on the loading dock and the 911 was called.

Kent firefighters responded and a hazardous materials response team was brought in to analyze the liquid, says Capt. Kyle Ohashi of the Kent Fire Department.

He says investigators soon discovered that that the contaminated package handled by the workers was not the source of the leak, but that it came from another package altogether. The second package was found and the contents screened.

An analysis determined that the material was a respiratory irritant, but that it was not explosive, radioactive or immediately dangerous to life, and that it was stable. Further analysis will ne needed to determine exactly what the material is.

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