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Posted at 2:29 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Md. packages under investigation

By Washington Post Staff Writers

IMG00053.jpgMaryland Department of Transportation headquarters. (Ovetta Wiggins/The Post)

Photo Gallery: The scene in Annapolis and Hanover | In Virginia: Officials monitor the situation

UPDATE

The FBI is assisting in the investigation into incendiary devices that went off Thursday afternoon in two Maryland state office building, according to reporter Spencer Hsu.

Maryland State police spokesman Greg Shipley said two packages were mailed, one sent to the Annapolis office where mail is opened for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and the second to the Maryland State Department of Transportation in Hanover.

Shipley said an employee in the mail room of the Jeffrey building on Francis Street in Annapolis opened a package about 12:30 p.m. The employee reported smoke and an unusual smell coming from the book size package.

That employee reported singed fingers from the package, Shipley said.

At the same time, a similar package was discovered at the Maryland State Department of Transportation headquarters in Hanover. Some people there also reported singed fingers. One person was transported to a hospital as a precaution, but no serious injuries reported.

William E. Barnard, the Maryland state fire marshal, said his office received a call around 12:45 p.m. that a person at the Maryland Department of Transportation "opened a packaged that produced a puff of smoke."

Barnard said bomb technicians determined that the package, which was the size of a book, contained an incendiary-type device that produced a sulfur smell.

"It would be wrong to characterize it as a bomb," he said. "There was no explosion."

Barnard said the device was similar in nature to the package sent to another state building earlier in the afternoon.

"At this point there are only two packages," he said. But added that Baltimore City has received a package that is being examined.

"We have collected a significant amount of physical evidence and believe me we are going to get to the bottom of this," Barnard said.

Officials said the incendiary devices should not be compared with a serious explosion. No explosive materials have been found at this point.

About a dozen emergency vehicles, including ambulances and fire trucks, were parked outside the four-story Department of Transportation Headquarters in Hanover about 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to reporter Ovetta Wiggins.

All 250 employees who work in the building were immediately evacuated after the incident, according to a spokesman. The incident, which occurred on the fourth floor, did not happen in the mailroom.

Richard Wolf, spokesman for the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI said the agency supplied "bomb technical support," for the investigation. He declined to reveal the scope of the investigation.


UPDATE

The Post's Ovetta Wiggins reports about a dozen emergency vehicles, including ambulances and fire trucks, were parked outside the four-story Department of Transportation Headquarters in Hanover.

All 250 employees who work in the building were immediately evacuated after the incident, according to a spokesman. The incident, which occurred on the fourth floor, did not happen in the mailroom.

Construction cones were used to block off one roadway leading to the headquarters, which is near the BWI rental car facility and the BWI/MARC station.

UPDATE

A press conference is also coming in Hanover. We have reporters on the scene and will provide updates shortly

UPDATE

Post staff writers Ashley Halsey III and John Wagner report that the police tape has been taken down on both ends of Francis Street and state employees are being allowed back into the Jeffreys Building in Annapolis. State Police are expected to provide an update on the incidents shortly.


View Explosion closes Md. buildings in a larger map

UPDATE:

Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley tells WBAL that the packages were about the size of a book. The mailroom at MDOT is near the office of Beverley Swaim-Staley, the secretary of transportation.

"Individuals had their fingers singed" but there has been no serious injuries or property damage, he said.

UPDATE:

WBAL in Baltimore is reporting that a possible incendiary device went off at the Maryland Department of Transportation's Headquarters in Hanover.

According to WBAL Sky Team 11 Capt. Roy Taylor who is flying over MDOT bomb dogs are sniffing cars; people on fourth floor are being held for observation; others are being told they can go home; buses are being brought from BWI to give people a place to stay warm.

Individuals had their fingers singed, and one person was transported for treatment, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley.

An alert has been issued to all state offices.

A law enforcement official outside a state building in Annapolis said an incendiary device also went off at the Jeffrey building across the street from the State House. What took place "wasn't an explosion. It was a flash," the officials told reporter John Wagner.

2:21 p.m.
The city manager for Annapolis says there was some sort of explosion Thursday in the Jeffrey building and one person was injured.

But one law enforcement official outside the building said what took place "wasn't an explosion. It was a flash," according to reporter John Wagner.

A mailroom employee suffered what was described as a minor injury.

The State Police is leading the investigation. The City of Annapolis bomb squad has also been on the scene, as has the State Fire Marshal and several state troopers.

St. Francis Street, which runs off State Circle, is shut down, but most surrounding businesses were never evacuated.

A second state building, the Maryland Department of Transportation also was closed because of a suspicious package, according to
The Capital of Annapolis.

Stay with PostLocal.com for more details.


Suspicious package closes Md. buildings
2 p.m.
The Jeffrey Building on Francis Street in downtown Annapolis was evacuated because of a suspicious package, according to Maryland State House reporter John Wagner.

State police officials are on the scene, as well as officials from a bomb squad.
jeffreybldg.jpg

No other buildings in the area have been evacuated.

The Capital in Annapolis reports that another suspicious package was found at the Maryland Department of Transportation building in Hanover. That building is also closed.

By Washington Post Staff Writers  | January 6, 2011; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Maryland  
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