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Facebook building at HQ evacuated due to sarin gas package

Facebook HQ. (eston/Flickr)
July 01, 2019

A deadly nerve agent was found in Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif. mail sorting facility on Monday, prompting evacuation.

The mail sorting machines flagged a package containing the nerve agent sarin, a deadly man-made chemical agent containing no odor or color, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

A routine test revealed the chemical at the facility.

Menlo Park Fire Marshal Jon Johnston told CNN that no employees were exposed to the chemical and the building was completely evacuated.

Johnston indicated that a false positive result was possible.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said an open-air test yielded a negative result for sarin.

“Sometimes machines make mistakes,” he said, according to LA Times. “This is a standard package-handling call we’re dealing with.”

The FBI and the National Guard responded to the scene for further investigation.

Some media reports indicated that two people may have been exposed to the chemical, as ABC7 reported.

Sarin, originally created as a pesticide, was used in two terror attacks in Japan in the 1990s, the CDC stated.

Sarin is a clear liquid in its pure form, and can easily evaporate into a vapor.

Exposure from skin or eye contact or inhalation in large doses can cause convulsions, paralysis, and fatal respiratory failure. Exposure to small amounts can produce symptoms similar to that of heat stroke.

Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison said, “At 11 a.m. PDT this morning, a package delivered to one of our mailrooms was deemed suspicious. We evacuated four buildings and are conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with local authorities. Authorities have not yet identified the substance found.”