3rd package ignites at Washington postal facility

Packages appear similar to those ignited in nearby state of Maryland a day before; postal facility is evacuated; no injuries are reported.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 7, 2011 23:53
1 minute read.
Police examining suspicious package in Maryland

Police examining package Maryland 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

WASHINGTON — A package ignited at a Washington D.C. postal facility Friday, a day after fiery packages sent to the governor and transportation secretary of the nearby state of Maryland burned the fingers of workers who opened them.

FBI Spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin said initial information indicated the parcel that ignited in Washington was similar to the two packages opened in Maryland on Thursday. The Washington postal facility was evacuated and no injuries were reported.

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The Maryland packages contained a note railing against highway signs urging motorists to report suspicious activity, investigators revealed.

The message read: "Report suspicious activity! Total Bull----! You have created a self fulfilling prophecy."

The packages, addressed to Gov. Martin O'Malley and to Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley, have been taken to an FBI lab for forensic analysis.

They were opened within a 15-minute period Thursday at state government buildings 20 miles (32 kilometers) 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 had pictures of the packages and were advised to be vigilant about anything suspicious.

Postal Service spokeswoman Joanne Veto said the suspicious Washington package was discovered after another package was thrown on top of it. She said the labels, postmark and stamps were similar to the Maryland parcels.

Police have not yet identified any suspects.


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