Chili powder cause of postal worker's breathing problems

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A Surprise postal worker was hospitalized Monday morning after red chili pepper powder spilled from a package and affected his breathing, according to a Surprise Fire Department spokesman.

Chief Autry Cheatham said the 38-year-old man began feeling ill after the red powder spilled from the package he was handling at the Surprise Post Office at 14955 W. Bell Road about 10 a.m.

Cheatham said Surprise police followed up with the sender of the package while a Hazmat crew determined what the substance was. He said the sender was "local" but didn't specify from where.

Crews from Glendale, Goodyear and Tolleson fired departments also responded.

The postal operations were minimally affected by the call, Cheatham said.

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