A hazardous material situation was declared at a US military base in Arlington, Virginia when eleven people became ill after opening a suspicious letter.
The base is short walk away from the Pentagon
Initial reports suggest that a certified letter was opened in one of the buildings and that it contained some sort of potentially hazardous substance, prompting an evacuation of the building and the deployment of an emergency decontamination station.
Eleven people were treated for symptoms and three were taken to the hospital.
RT reports: Fire crews and hazmat units rushed to the scene. Three people were taken to the hospital and are currently in a stable condition, Arlington County Fire Department reported on Twitter.
At least five people were displaying symptoms such as nose bleeds and itching after coming in contact with the substance, according to local news outlet ARLnow. The roads leading to the base have been sealed by police, it reported.
— Q McCray (@ABC7Q) February 27, 2018
The base was evacuated as a precaution, a Marine official said, according to ABC News. The US Marine Corps reported on Twitter that “several Marines are receiving medical care as a result of this incident.” The response to the situation has been coordinated with the FBI, it said.
Base officials are coordinating with local HAZMAT teams and @FBI. Several
Marines are receiving medical care as a result of this incident. No additional details are available at this time as the investigation is ongoing.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) February 27, 2018
A corporal, a gunnery sergeant and a colonel were among those who showed the symptoms, CNN reported. It is unclear who initially handled the letter or what substance was involved. The base hosts both civilian and military personnel.
Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is located just across the Arlington National Cemetery from the Pentagon, the seat of the US Department of Defense, just over a mile (about two kilometers) away.
Several hours after a scheduled press conference on the incident was cancelled, the US Marine Corps reported that the envelope was removed from the site and the building was “screened and cleaned.”
An investigation into the incident is being led by the Navy’s criminal investigative service and the FBI, it said on Twitter.
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