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Suspicious Substance Closes IRS Office

As of 7:00PM EDT, the IRS Service Center in Covington, Kentucky that had been locked down earlier because of a suspicious substance found in an envelope, had been reopened. The material was found not to be dangerous.

At approximately 3:00 PM the 3,500-employee IRS office was placed under a full lockdown, as hazardous materials experts investigated a suspicious sticky substance in an envelope that was handled by several people.

Emergency workers brought one woman wearing a blue business suit out of the building and began scrubbing her down in a large black tub. They then removed her clothes, wrapped her twice in plastic and took her to a nearby hospital for further decontamination and observation.

Otherwise, no one was allowed in or out of the Cincinnati IRS Center on Fourth street, and fire department hazmat teams were seen taking hoses into the building. Officials placed the suspicious letter in a can, which was placed in a police car and driven to a waiting Hamilton County Sheriff?s Office helicopter and flown away.

Chris Kerns, a spokesman for the IRS, said the building, which can have as many as 3,500 workers in its offices and 188 children in its childcare facility, is in ?standard procedure lockdown.? The center, which processes 20 million individual and business tax returns from seven states, has had about 20 similar incidents in past 5 years.

This lockdown came only a day after six people were hosed down by hazardous materials crews at a doctor?s office in Sycamore Township, Ohio following delivery of a suspicious package.

Unknowncountry.com Opinion: These 'scares' are an inevitable side-effect of the caution that needs to be observed during a time when attempts could be under way to deliver biological weapons into the US. They are a symptom of vigilance, and must not be allowed to become a form of hysteria.

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