Suspicious Package “Ignites” at NE D.C. Post Office

A suspicious package addressed to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano "ignited" at a facility that handles government mail in northeast Washington, according NBC News correspondent Pete Williams.

Shortly after 2 p.m., a worker at the facility flagged down a police officer in the area and described the piece of mail that had been tossed into a bin for further sorting when it caught fire, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. The piece of mail flashed, popped, ignited, smoked and then quickly extinguished.

No injuries were reported. 

D.C. Fire and EMS and the ATF responded at the Post Office facility in the 3300 block of V Street NE. D.C. police, the U.S. Postal Inspector, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force out of Baltimore and D.C. are investigating.

V Street was closed between Bladensburg Road and South Dakota Avenue NE. The building was evacuated.

As of 4 p.m., D.C. government mail rooms were secured and operations were shut down across the city for the rest of the day as a result of the incident. U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Romano said that there would be no delays in delivery of mail as a result of this incident.

Mail destined for the federal government is sorted and screened at the V Street facility. According to an audit done after the anthrax scare, this facility handles mail for at least three federal government agencies.

The incident comes just one day after two suspicious letters "flared up" at state government buildings in Maryland.  Federal authorities said the package resembled the two packages discovered in Maryland, NBC News reported.

Officials are investigating whether today's incident is connected to Thursday's incidents.

Romano said that after Thursday's incidents, postal inspectors were sent to various mail facilities to screen mail and talk to employees about what suspicious things to look for.

Stay with for more information.

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