3rd package ignites at Washington postal facility

A package was addressed to Homeland Security Secretary ignited at a Washington postal facility.

Updated: Jan 08, 2011, 18:32 PM IST

Washington: A package an official said was
addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
ignited at a Washington postal facility, a day after fiery
packages sent to Maryland`s governor and transportation
secretary burned the fingers of workers who opened them.

Authorities were bracing for more packages to surface.

"Right now we don`t have any other packages, but we`re
not taking anything for granted," DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier

Initial information indicated the parcel that ignited
in northeast Washington about 2:45 pm was similar to the
packages opened Thursday in Maryland, a state adjacent to the
national capital, authorities said.

The Washington postal facility was evacuated after an
employee discovered a parcel that looked similar to the
Maryland mailings, authorities said yesterday. No injuries
were reported.

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."

At the DC facility, which primarily handles mail for
the federal government in Washington, workers are not allowed
to open packages, postal inspector Frank Schissler said, so
it`s unclear exactly how the parcel ignited.

The package was "popping, smoking and there was a
brief flash of fire," Lanier said; that was very similar to
what authorities described in Maryland.

The labels, postmark and stamps also were similar to
the Maryland parcels, Postal Service spokeswoman Joanne Veto

The DC package that ignited was addressed to
Napolitano, according to a Homeland Security Department
official who spoke yesterday on condition of anonymity because
the investigation was continuing. The postal facility is not
near downtown or the U S Capitol.

The earlier packages, addressed to Maryland Gov.
Martin O`Malley and to Transportation Secretary Beverley
Swaim-Staley, have been taken to the FBI lab in Quantico,
Virginia, for forensic analysis. They contained no explosive

They were opened within a 15-minute period Thursday at
state government buildings 20 miles apart.

The workers who opened the packages singed their
fingers, but no significant injuries were reported. Mailroom
employees were back at work yesterday, and they had pictures
of the packages and were advised to be vigilant about anything