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Packages Injure Workers At Md. Government Office Buildings

HANOVER, Md. (WJZ/AP) - A state police spokesman says packages sent to two state buildings created smoke and an odor when they were opened, but did not cause any serious injuries. State officials initially said the packages exploded, but later said there were no blasts.

WJZ reports The Anne Arundel County Fire Department initially responded to a report of an explosion in Hanover at the Department of Transportation headquarters. Officials say it happened in the 7200-block of Corporate Center Drive around 1 p.m. Thursday, possibly on the fourth floor where the administration offices are. There were no serious injuries.

Meanwhile, a Maryland State House mailroom employee was injured Thursday afternoon while handling a package around 12:30 p.m. The incident is being investigated by bomb squad officials, according to Annapolis city officials. The incident at the Jeffrey Building on Francis Street in Annapolis is being investigated by various agencies. The mailroom employee had minor burns to his hands and refused treatment. The Jeffrey Building was evacuated, but is now back open after finding no explosive material.

Maryland State Police Spokesman Greg Shipley says mailrooms at state offices across Maryland are being quarantined Thursday until it is determined if any other packages have been sent. Shipley says the packages were small, describing them as about the size of a book. Shipley says the packages did not cause any damage to the buildings.

The FBI's joint terrorism task force was assisting in the investigation, the state police spokesman said, adding that the state fire marshal and a number of other law enforcement agencies also responded to the two scenes. A Homeland Security Department official said the department was aware of the incidents and monitoring them. New Jersey state police also said they had notified agencies across the Garden State about what had happened, saying it was part of normal protocol when such incidents occur. The New Jersey agencies were advised to be "extra vigilant" in handling mail and packages.

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