Authorities say package delivered to mailroom tested positive for deadly chemical warfare agent
MENLO PARK — Hazmat teams were gearing up to remove a possibly sarin-laced package from a mail facility at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park late Monday night, authorities said.
The U.S. Postal Service delivered the package to the Hamilton Court facility earlier in the day. According to Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman. He said two of three tests conducted by the company were positive for “some type of sarin.” But the two workers who handled the package did not show any signs of exposure.
“They don’t have any medical problems,” Schapelhouman said about the employees in a phone interview Monday afternoon.
“They’re not complaining of any related effects that would lead us to believe in fact there was sarin of any shape or form involved.”
Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison said “a package delivered to one of our mailrooms was deemed suspicious” about 11 a.m. Monday. The company then evacuated four of its buildings. Facebook campus Sarin scare brings the hazmat team
“Authorities have not yet identified the substance found,” he said. “As of now, three of the evacuated buildings have been cleared for repopulation. The safety of our employees is our top priority and we will share additional information when it is available.”
Schapelhouman said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is helming the investigation.
Reached by email Monday afternoon. FBI spokesperson Cameron Polan confirmed the agency is at the scene. “Continues to work with our law enforcement partners.”Facebook campus Sarin scare brings the hazmat team
The Hayward-based 95th Civil Support Team. A unit of the California Army National Guard, is also at the scene, according to Schapelhouman. He said the team has both the expertise and the equipment to determine if the package indeed contains sarin.
“We’re in good hands,” Schapelhouman said. “There’s no threat to the local community.”
The Civil Support Team, along with the San Mateo County Hazardous Material Team, entered the facility about 6 p.m. Monday to test the package, Schapelhouman said in a news advisory late Monday night. They exited about 6:45 p.m. but were expected to head back in between 10 and 11 p.m. with more sophisticated detection equipment.
“The plan is to also recover the package in question and place it in a mobile containment device and remove it from the structure and area,” Schapelhouman said. Facebook campus Sarin scare brings the hazmat team
Developed in 1938 in Germany as an insecticide, sarin is a clear, colorless and tasteless liquid that has no odor in its pure form, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it can evaporate into a vapor and spread into the environment.
Sarin was used in two terrorist attacks in Japan in 1994 and 1995, according to the CDC.