10-15 people sickened after package is opened at state office

10-15 people sickened after package is opened at state office

Credit: Drew Mikkelsen / KING

10-15 people sickened after package is opened at state office

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 20 at 4:25 PM

A state office in downtown Olympia was evacuated Tuesday for a hazmat investigation.

Four employees at the Health Care Authority started complaining of sore throats, itchy eyes and a strong perfume-type smell after a package was opened.

As many as 15 employees complained of irritation of some kind, but no one required hospitalization.

The building was evacuated as a precaution.  The mail was isolated into a barrel, awaiting inspection by the Washington State Patrol SWAT team.

The mail was not addressed to anyone specific and did not have a return address on it. Authorities described it as "general mail."

The Health Care Authority oversees eight health care programs, including Medicaid. Gov. Chris Gregoire was supposed to be in the building for a meeting at 2 p.m., but it was canceled before she arrived due to the situation.

Authorities said there was no connection between the package and Gregoire's meeting.

 


 

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