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Odor sends three workers to hospital

MONTICELLO — Three postal employees were taken to the hospitalThursday morning after a strange odor caused them to become ill atthe post office, according to Mayor Dave Nichols.

Nichols said he believes the odor that apparently made two womenand a man sick was not anthrax because anthrax does not have anodor. The mayor did not identify the workers involved.

“We’ve already had a toxicology report that came backinconclusive and we’re having more tests done,” he added.

Officials with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and otheragencies dealing with hazardous chemicals have been notified andare investigating, Nichols said.

He planned to make public details about the incident at a 10a.m. press conference Friday at City Hall.

Nichols also wanted to inform citizens and business owners whatactions should be taken during a suspicious incident, such as theone at the post office.

He said doors should remain closed, rather than be opened asthey were Thursday.

Nichols was also disappointed that fans were turned on after thestrange odor was detected and authorities were not called until anhour later.

One woman has been released from the hosptial while the man andthe other woman remained hospitalized late Thursday.

In a similar, but unrelated, incident Friday morning, a postaltruck was detained for testing when a Sontag Post Office employeecomplained of headaches and illness, an official said.

“As a precaution, we decided to check his truck out,” said GuyRobinson, U.S. Postal Service inspector.

Robinson said the employee, who was not identified, complainedof a chemical smell and because of the incident in MonticelloThursday, they tested the truck and employee for chemical agents.All of the tests proved negative, he said.

“Whatever is wrong with him is a personal medical condition andnot caused by a biological agent,” Robinson said.

While the tests were being conducted the post office continuedto operate as normal.