Possible Sarin Exposure in Facebook Mail Sorting Facility in Menlo Park California

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Menlo Park Fire Protection District firefighters responded about 11:00 a.m. PT Monday July 1, 2019 after a hazard-sensing machine at one of Facebook’s mail sorting facilities activated an alert of a possible toxic substance.

Menlo Park Fire District said a hazardous materials team responded to the building, where usually only six people work in the mail sorting facility.

Initially there were indications that two people may have been exposed to sarin.

Facebook released a statement saying that a package delivered to one of its mail rooms was “deemed suspicious” about 11:00 a.m. PT.

“We evacuated four buildings and are conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with local authorities,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement, adding that the substance has not yet been identified. “As of now, three of the evacuated buildings have been cleared for repopulation. The safety of our employees is our top priority and we will share additional information when it is available.”

A Menlo Park Fire Protection District official said sarin was detected in a mail bag during a test, but that the detection may have involved a false positive analysis. Initially there were no reports of any of the employees showing symptoms of exposure. Nationwide in all types of mailrooms and shipping facilities, incoming packages are routinely and continuously tested for a variety of hazards, including explosives, radioactive material and other chemical hazards.

A total of four Facebook buildings were evacuated as a precaution. Three of the buildings were cleared for re-entry by employees.

Facebook’s headquarters is located on Hackers Way near the San Francisco Bay in northeast Menlo Park. There are ten or eleven buildings in the campus nearby. The nearest fire district station is about two miles southwest, near Stanford University in Palo Alto.

Last year on April 3, 2018, a woman shot three people at Google’s YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, about 20 minutes south of San Francisco, before turning the gun on herself. The shooter had expressed anger at how YouTube had managed her YouTube channels, videos and monetization.

YouTube headquarters in San Bruno is about 24 miles northwest of Facebook headquarters.



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