US Sen. Murray's office evacuated due to envelope

AP News
Posted: Jun 16, 2011 8:15 PM
US Sen. Murray's office evacuated due to envelope

One of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's Washington state offices was closed for about three hours Thursday after a staffer found a suspicious envelope in the mail, but fire officials said tests later showed the envelope didn't contain anything dangerous.

The letter-sized envelope contained a sand-like substance and the staff member was concerned about the return address, Tacoma Police Det. Gretchen Aguirre (ah-GEER'-ee) said. Nothing fell out of the envelope and it was unclear what made the return address seem suspicious, Aguirre said.

Murray was not in her Tacoma office on Thursday. The office is one of six in the state that the senator uses to serve constituents.

Fire officials did a preliminary check before calling the postal service to retrieve the envelope, Aguirre said. The envelope had already gone through the post office's regular hazardous materials screening, she said.

Tacoma Fire Department spokesman Joe Meinecke told the News Tribune that they tested the envelope for biological, radiological and chemical substances, and all those tests came back negative.

Murray spokesman Matt McAlvanah said no staff members were injured or sickened. Murray was traveling back to Washington state on Thursday as planned, he said.