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Hazardous Materials Teams Investigating Alarm on Pentagon Reservation

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2005 – Hazardous materials teams from the Pentagon and Arlington County, Va., are investigating an alarm that indicated the possible presence of chemical or biological agents in the facility that handles the Pentagon's mail.

Officials evacuated the Remote Delivery Facility, an outbuilding of the Pentagon that processes mail and deliveries, after the alarm sounded around 10:30 a.m. today.

Pentagon spokesman Glenn Flood stressed that the alarm indicated a preliminary positive and that more substantive tests are being conducted. He said officials hope to have more specific test results back by this evening.

Flood explained the alarm sounded during routine screening in the facility. "Every day we do this," he said, referring to testing of air and surface samples.

Experts from the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Arlington County Emergency Medical Services, and the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic are on site responding to the incident.

Flood said employees of the facility are being told to remain calm while additional tests are being conducted.

The RDF was designed to improve the physical security of the Pentagon by providing a consolidated location to receive and screen items shipped to the building, according to information on a DoD Web site. An average of 250 trucks per day deliver thousands of packages to the facility's 38 loading docks.

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