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CAMP ZAMA, Japan — Emergency responders at Camp Zama closed off part of the base Wednesday after postal workers found a package leaking a suspicious substance, officials said.

The U.S. Army Garrison Japan Fire Department, aided by soldier volunteers from the decontamination team, cordoned off the area and sequestered 11 postal workers inside the post distribution office until the substance was identified. By Wednesday evening, the substance had not been publicly identified.

Emergency responders tested the substance on site to verify that it wasn’t dangerous, said incident commander Staff Sgt. Richard Rau, operations sergeant for the provost marshal’s office.

The scare started when powder leaked from a package sent to a member of the base community. Postal workers called in the incident shortly after 10 a.m., he said.

The building was cordoned off while members of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Explosives team set up decontamination areas.

The incident occurred in one of the main intersections on post just before lunchtime.

The scare turned into an opportune training exercise for the fire department and decontamination team.

“You never know when you go in there if it’s real,” said Fire Chief Julie Thixton. “Sure we’re apprehensive because it’s an unknown, but training kicks in [and] allowed them to do the right thing. Any incidence is a good training opportunity.”

No one was injured in the incident, and the post office reopened in the afternoon.


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