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Ariz. Deputy, Five Others Hospitalized After Exposure to Bomb Chemical

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.

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