Suspicious package destroyed by Westfield Fire Department and State Police

WESTFIELD—The Westfield Fire Department, along with other local agencies, destroyed a suspicious package purposefully Tuesday night.

The Westfield Fire Department was assisted by the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Regional Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Response Team in disposing of a package through detonation that was brought to the Westfield Fire Department headquarters on Broad Street around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Dec. 26. The package was brought to the department by a resident.

“A resident brought a package that he thought was hazardous to the fire station,” Pat Kane, Deputy Chief for the Westfield Fire Department, said.

The package was originally inside a warehouse the resident reportedly owned. It was in the warehouse “for about a year, but he did not know what was inside of it,” Kane said.

“Labeling on the outside said one of three possible chemicals,” he said.

In addition, he said that the “label did have placards saying ‘spontaneously combustible’ and ‘dangerous when wet’.”

The Westfield Fire deputy chief on at the time the package was brought in requested that the regional hazmat team be contacted and they came to the scene. In addition, the State Police Bomb Squad was called in to assist.

Kane said that the hazmat team had checked the package, including “metering” it, or using different meters to check for measures such as radioactivity and photoionization, as well as checked for flammable materials and other chemicals. It was determined by the team that the package had not breached, Kane said.

The Bomb Squad, according to Kane, also utilized x-ray technology to examine the packaging, which found there to be four jars of what was believed to be liquid.

Afterward, a Department of Public Works dump truck that is filled with sand was requested to assist the Bomb Squad. The package was put into the bed of the vehicle and “then detonated at another location to render the substance not hazardous” Kane said, which was reportedly Lane Quarry.

“Due to the caution of the fire department, police and hazmat teams followed all the right steps and mitigated the hazard,” Kane said.

Kane said that no one was injured in the incident, but stressed the importance that residents not handle potentially hazardous materials because it could present an even bigger hazard.

“We want to stress that when citizens have concerns to leave the item where it is and contact the appropriate authorities,” he said.

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