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home : latest news : regional December 17, 2014

10/5/2012 6:18:00 PM
Hazmat team responds to Ironwood State Prison/Palo Verde Hospital hazardous materials incident

Jaclyn Randall
Associate Editor

BLYTHE - A piece of mail that when opened, dispensed a suspect white powder, landed three Ironwood State Prison correctional officers in the emergency room of Palo Verde Hospital for precautionary reasons, but set off a closure of streets around the hospital as emergency personnel and pedestrians waited outside as a Riverside County Hazmat team took control.

According to a press release issued by Ironwood officials, at approximately 10 a.m., peace officers were processing legal mail when one opened a package and found it contained a white powdery substance. The officer tested the substance for drugs; and during the test he suffered the effects of a chemical reaction. There were two other officers in the vicinity.

The three peace officers were taken to the hospital for evaluation and CAL Fire's Hazardous Materials Unit and Riverside County Environmental Health Hazardous Materials responded to the prison.

Riverside County and Blythe Fire showed up to help at the hospital and set up a decontamination site in the dirt lot next to the post office on Murphy, taping off the entrance into the post office. Hazmat showed up and decontaminated the inside of the hospital.

The prison is on modified program, which means they have limited inmate movement and the incident is under investigation.

Prison officials said that visiting would not be impacted this weekend.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: tracie toon

LOL..DAMN how much white powdery substance could there have been?? guess is that they say it was Anthrax...Hope they gave them high doses of CIPRO!!!

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: el pica buyas

@el pica dude. this is not mayberry or maybe it is with the police, we have here. some one has to ask the questions. that no one wants answered. so if you are happy with your head in the sand then ok. be happy. if it bothers you to read what i write. please feel free not to read, what i write. just like the government tells people to do in case of a chemical attack, put plastic around your doors and windows cover all opening with plastic. different ways to deliver a chemical, spray, droplets. fog. but putting plastic all around is just like putting a plastic garbage bag around your head and tying it off.( in the food and water also) the same with bio.

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: el pica buyas

@paul munch. this is blythe, that we are talking about. so who did the decontamination at the prison? if the prison did it why did they not decontaminate the people first. before taking them to blythe. because if it had been the real thing they could have many people in danger. i know people train for it. but when it's the real thing. you would be surprised on what really happens.

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: eddy mcgillicutty

a little bird (or stool pigeon) told me that a riot broke out between black and hispanic inmates at the ironwood prison on saturday in one of the exercise yards. maybe it was over who was suppose to get the mysterious "white powder".

Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012
Article comment by: @ el pica dude.. seriously?

dude! seriously? must you always be so negative? shit! you get (deleted) heavy on the soul, man! do you ever see positivity in anything? or is your world soo negative and depressing and disgusting as you make yourself out to be in everysinglecomment you post?!

hazmat responded! be greatful that a team like that exists in blythe!

as for hazmat, the co's, hospital staff, post office employees & all the bystanders involved in or affected by this.. thank you for protecting my city, my family, and my friends..

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Article comment by: paul munch

@ el pica buyas decontamination is done in a pool so they can take the chemical and dispose of it correctly. this is the reason for a "hazmat team" really you think with the training the county has they are going to decontaminate a hazmat situation in the dirt, sidewalk, or hospital shower. c'mon these are real trained professional men and women.

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Article comment by: theresa hartman

. the reporter never put if the officers were okay. the sad thing is that when people read this,they will remember the fact that inmates still were able to see their families. i say big deal
the officers were subjected to a white substance-that coud have been dangerous to them. i will sleep better tonight knowing that the inmates received their visitation.

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: john holmes

are they ok? can we get an update?

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: jacque vidaurri

I know visiting is an important part of an inmate's live but, isn't it still a privelege? Putting a white powdery substance inside of mail is no laughing matter. The officers who were exposed to it were not laughing. Hazmat was called out. The public safety was at potential risk, not to mention all of the hospital staff, patients, and visitors!!!!! But Heaven forbid we take visiting from the inmates and their families and friends. Where are your priorities?

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Did they decontaminate the ground by removing the dirt, where they set up the decontamination station. They should have set it up on a paved or on a concrete area that way they could have decontaminated it like they did inside the hospital with another chemical.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Walt Sleptke

Anthrax or PCP or AJAX cleanser. Which one was it?

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