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Envelope opened at LifeWay tests negative for biological hazards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A suspicious envelope delivered to the human resources department at LifeWay Christian Resources tested negative for any biological hazards, according to the Nashville Public Health Department.

Delivery and discovery of the envelope led to a brief quarantine of the Southern Baptist Convention agency on Jan. 25.

The envelope, containing an unknown substance along with a note reading, “Have a good day,” was delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to the LifeWay complex on Jan. 24. It was opened in the human resources department mid-morning on the 25th.

Following routine procedures for handling of suspicious mail, LifeWay contacted Metropolitan Nashville Police, which resulted in the arrival of emergency personnel, including the Nashville Health Department and the local fire department.

No one was allowed to enter or leave the LifeWay complex from approximately 10:45 a.m. until noon.

The person who opened the envelope was required to undergo a decontamination process. Other employees in the immediate area were held in quarantine until the health department released them at approximately 12:30 p.m.

“We are grateful that the substance tested negative and the employees in our human resources department are all OK,” LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said. “We appreciate the immediate response of the metro police and fire departments and of the health department. While we regret that this incident took place, we are glad that we had procedures in place for handling of suspicious mail. Those procedures were carefully followed.”

The incident marked the second time an SBC building in Nashville has faced an anthrax-type scare. The SBC Building in Nashville, across the street from LifeWay, was the focus of a similar emergency response in March 1999 when a letter inside an opened envelope claimed to be carrying the deadly bacteria. No anthrax was detected in subsequent FBI lab tests.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BRIEF QUARANTINE.

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