Suspicious package at West Lawn mail center; 3 hospitalized

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Three people, including two postal workers and a police officer, were taken to hospitals this morning after a suspicious package spurred a hazardous material’s response at a sorting facility in the West Lawn neighborhood, officials said.

The incident occurred at the Southwest Side Carrier Annex where mail carriers pick up their mail deliveries for the 60632 and 60629 zip codes on the southwest side, said U.S. Postal Service Spokeswoman Julie Kenney.

The facility, at 4301 W. 69th St., is not open to the public and at the time of the incident several hundred employees were evacuated as a precaution, said Kenney. They were allowed to return into the building after determining that there was no danger.

The workers and the police officer asked to go to a hospital as a precaution, said Kenney.

Fire Department officials were called to the center at about 8:50 a.m., after a package containing a powder was found by a postal worker, said Chicago Fire Department Spokesman Kevin MacGregor.

After securing the location, three people including two postal workers and a police officer were taken to an area hospital in good condition as a precaution, said MacGregor.

After firefighters responded they called for an hazardous materials response to the area, said MacGregor. The fire department conducted tests on the powder and determined that it was not hazardous, he said.

While officials do not believe that the package contained a hazardous material they have packaged the item and turned it over to the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office which will conduct its own tests, said Kenney.

She said the item was a letter which was addressed to a a person in who lived in the area, said Kenney. The person is not a politician, she said.

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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