MOUNTAIN CITY, TN (WJHL) – A suspicious package at a local post office is the focus of a federal investigation after a postal worker suffered minor burns from fluid leaking from that piece of mail. Employees were evacuated from the post office on College Street in Mountain City Friday morning. News Channel 11 found out a postal inspector was brought in to investigate whether the package poses a threat to the community.
Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece says the call came in around 8:15 Friday morning. Mountain City Police initially responded with assistance from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.
Reece said, “The package in question has been deemed ‘suspicious’ because it appeared to be damaged and was leaking some form of liquid that burned a postal worker.”
Mountain City resident Denise Smith said, “I do hope someone wasn’t badly hurt.”
Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jason Blevins says a postal worker is recovering from minor injuries after coming into contact with a questionable piece of mail. “We’re not exactly sure what it is … It gave her some kind of reaction and we’re not exactly sure what it was,” Blevins said.
The FBI and a postal inspector were called in to investigate and run preliminary tests on the piece of mail. Blevins said, “Come to show that there was no threat to the employees here or to the community so that piece of equipment or that piece of mail will be taken and they might do some more tests on it but everything is safe and there’s no threat.”
Authorities did not say what was in the package but they don’t believe it poses any threat to the community. For that reason, the post office was reopened around 1:00 p.m.
Blevins said, “It’s one of those incidents that it’s better to be safe than sorry and make sure that it’s not a harmful situation to the public and the workers and just take care of it.”
The leaking package has created quite a stir in mountain city. Smith said, “I am quite surprised, really!”
Smith says she moved to mountain city for the peace and quiet of a smaller community but now the town is buzzing with concern. She said, “I was coming to buy stamps to pay the bills but they’re not getting paid today. We left New Hampshire and Massachusetts to come here for peace but it’s a lovely place.”
Blevins said the injured postal worker was treated at the scene before being transported to a local hospital for treatment where she is said to be in “good condition”.
A Spokesman with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said initial statements show that this is suspected to be an isolated incident and that officials do not believe the package was criminal in nature.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.