Fiery Package at DC Postal Facility Triggers Uncoordinated Response

A package addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited last week in the same building where two postal workers died of exposure to anthrax-laced packages mailed in 2001. But the initial response to last week’s event was “very sloppy,” a postal worker’s union president told The Washington Post.

Workers in the back of the building were unsure about whether to evacuate and managers did not make any announcements on the building’s public address system. The facility was only evacuated after one worker flagged down a passing police officer.

The response improved as several emergency agencies got involved and the package was properly isolated, the article says. But the union president said workers should have been briefed about the danger after two similar packages burned postal workers’ fingers earlier in the week in Maryland.

Workers at the postal facility had sued the U.S. Postal Service for failing to protect them after the anthrax attacks, but a federal judge ruled in 2004 that the service is immune.

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