OAKLAND -- A leaking can of pepper spray at a Laurel District post office branch sickened two employees and forced the evacuation of the building Wednesday morning, fire officials said.
Emergency crews and hazmat units responded to a report about 10 a.m. of a suspicious substance found on a package at the U.S. Postal Service branch at 3630 High St., said Chief Jenny Ray.
The canister of dog repellant pepper spray used by mail carriers was found in a drawer in a work area. Officials were not sure how it discharged, but it became a puddle on the floor.
Eight people were in the area where the canister was leaking and two of those were postal employees coughing and complaining of eye irritation. One was taken by ambulance to a hospital, officials said.
More than dozen people including customers and employees were initially evacuated from the building.
As of 10:50 a.m., air monitors in the building showed the air was clear. At 11:30 a.m., officials deemed the site safe enough to allow people back into the building.
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.