Suspicious envelopes sent to Sen. Jeff Flake's Phoenix office

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report Tess Rafols

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 19 at 3:02 PM

Map: Sen. Flake's office

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PHOENIX -- Two suspicious envelopes were sent to U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake's Phoenix office Wednesday morning and they are undergoing testing to determine if they are dangerous.

Flake is currently in Washington, D.C.

The Phoenix police and fire departments were called to the office near 22nd Street and Camelback Road at about 9:20 a.m. after staff members thought the envelopes addressed to Flake looked suspicious.

Two people were in the general area but did not open the mail. Capt. Jonathan Jacobs with the Phoenix Fire Department said the exposure risk was not great for them. However, one was taken to a local hospital due to a pre-existing medical condition.

Jacobs said the envelopes reportedly contained a suspicious powder, however, police have not confirmed that. The envelopes will undergo testing to determine if they are dangerous.

The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Postal inspectors are investigating.

"It may very well turn out that there's nothing, but because of the events across the nation the last several days we take it very seriously and that's why we responded with the resources we have, both our federal as well as our local authorities," Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

The first floor of the building was evacuated. Authorities secured the room where the envelopes are and the ventilation system was shut down. Jacobs said there is no immediate hazard to anyone in the vicinity.

Letters sent to President Barack Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., this week tested positive for poisonous ricin. The FBI said the letters are related and both are postmarked Memphis, Tenn.
 
Several other reports of suspicious mail sent to government officials are being checked.

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