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Update: Hazmat crews wait for FBI in possible Sarin exposure investigation

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Emergency crews have evacuated Facebook’s package handling facility in Menlo Park after the possible detection of a chemical weapon on mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, firefighters said early Monday afternoon.

Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said around noon Monday that the hazardous materials protocol was activated after a package tested three times turned up positive for sarin gas twice.

As of 1:15 p.m., a team was setting up outside 1005 Hamilton Ave., waiting for specialists from the FBI to arrive on scene.

Two people handled the package in question, but there are no medical issues to report, and these individuals are not thought to have been exposed to any dangerous materials.

Schapelhouman said it’s not yet clear whether this situation is a false alarm or a threat to public safety.

Schapelhouman said:

“We don’t know yet.”

Sarin gas is a clear, colorless nerve agent with no taste or odor that can occur in liquid or vapor form, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exposure is possible through skin or eye contact, as well as inhalation. For more information, people can go to
https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/sarin/basics/facts.asp.

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