Friday, January 7, 2011

Mail Rooms In U.S On Alert After Fiery Packages Injure 2 In Maryland

HANOVER, Md. -- Investigators attempted Friday to trace the origin of packages sent to Maryland's governor and transportation secretary that ignited when they opened, producing a puff of smoke, a small flame and a sulfur-like smell.

The package addressed to Gov. Martin O'Malley was sent by someone griping about highway signs that urge motorists to call in tips about suspicious activity. A similar package was sent to Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley. They were opened within a 15-minute period Thursday afternoon at state government buildings 20 miles apart.

The workers who opened the packages singed their fingers, but there were no significant injuries.
Soon after, mailrooms across Maryland were cleared and two other suspicious packages uncovered, though they turned out to be a toner cartridge and laptop batteries.

Explosive material wasn't found in either package that ignited and authorities aren't sure if any other dangerous packages are out there, but mailroom employees were back at work Friday. They'll have pictures of the packages and were advised to be vigilant about anything suspicious.
Meanwhile, the packages have prompted officials in at least four nearby states to be more vigilant.

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