By Carlos Miller, The Arizona Republic
Six people, including a sheriff's deputy, were hospitalized Wednesday
after they were exposed to a chemical from an apparent pipe bomb
north of Phoenix.
Deputy Pablo Gonzalez of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was
investigating a pipe bomb blast in a residential mailbox in New River
when his skin began to burn and itch and he had trouble breathing
after handling the wreckage, Phoenix fire officials said.
Officials then went to Osco Drug at Galvin Peak and Anthem roads,
where the owner of the home was working and discovered she and four
co-workers had similar symptoms.
The woman apparently had brought a piece of the mailbox to work to
have a pharmacist look at it, a fire official said. A Phoenix Fire
Dept. Hazardous Materials unit and a Department of Public Safety
explosives unit responded. One fire official said it appeared the
pipe bomb contained a chemical similar to battery acid, though that
hadn't been confirmed late Wednesday. The store was checked out and
is safe, officials said.
Two unexploded pipe bombs were found in New River on Tuesday less
than two miles from the woman's home, but officials had not connected
them to Wednesday's incident.