Preliminary Results Show No Anthrax at Ingram, Says FBI5:35 PM EST Wed. Oct. 17, 2001
Two packages containing a powdery substance were found at Ingram Micro earlier this week, according to company CEO Kent Foster. But the FBI says a preliminary test on a sample does not indicate the presence of anthrax.
Foster says the packages arrived at the company's Millington, Tenn., distribution facility on Friday.
One package was opened on Monday, which was postmarked from Acco Brands, an Ogdensberg, N.Y., company that distributes office supplies.
Workers noticed the substance and the facility was shut down for the remainder of the day, says Foster.
"It came in a box with software," says Foster. "We still don't know what it is. The software is being researched, but it's not believed to be Microsoft."
However, according to an Ingram spokesperson, the package contained a disk drive cleaning kit, not software, which could account for the powdery substance.
Roughly 400 Ingram workers were in the facility at the time and were evacauted, according to Ingram's spokesperson. A number of workers went to Methodist Hospital in Memphis as a precaution, according to the FBI.
Less than two hours after the facility opened yesterday, another package was found containing a powdery substance, says Foster. The facility was shut down a second time, but was open shortly afterwards.
"The preliminary results on the sample taken was negative and it did not indicate the presence of anthrax" says FBI special agent George Bolds of the FBI's Memphis, Tenn. field office.
The state's hazardous material's team was dispatched to the Millington facility, which then turned over the packages to the FBI, Bolds says.
"We sent it to our pubic health service lab in Jackson, Tenn., where they will do additional testing and cultures of the sample," he says.
The Memphis public health service lab was undergoing renovation, so the package was sent to Jackson, which is about 80 miles east of Memphis, Bolds says.
The substance of the second package had not been tested yet, he says.
"It takes several days until we have conclusive findings," Bolds says. "I'm not sure why the two [packages] weren't taken together."
One of the packages appeared to have a powdery white substance inside the cardboard surface, he says.
"From where I'm sitting, this looks like most of the other calls we've been getting," says Bolds. "This time it's in a box instead of an envelope."
Bolds says there have been no known cases of anthrax in Tennessee in recent weeks, although local police, fire and medical departments received 60 calls for suspicious packages last week.
Ingram has had a policy in effect for employees who encounter sucpicious packages, which was followed on Monday, according to an Ingram spokesperson. Those policies are being updated to include biohazardous materials.