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3 city workers hurt as package explodes in Scottsdale
Emily Bittner and Kristen Go
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 26, 2004 05:05 PM
The director of Scottsdale's Office of Diversity & Dialogue and two other co-workers were injured when a package addressed to him exploded Thursday as he opened it.
The incident shocked Scottsdale employees and prompted warnings to other Valley cities.
The explosion happened after 1 p.m. at the Human Resources building at 7575 E. Main St. A mailroom employee delivered a standard notebook-sized package addressed to Don Logan, who heads the Office of Diversity & Dialogue.
The package exploded as Logan opened it, causing him severe burns, said Sgt. Doug Dirren, a spokesman with the Scottsdale Police Department. A woman who was nearby suffered eye injuries that could have come from the impact of the explosion or from shrapnel, Dirren said. Her name was not available.
Logan underwent surgery Thursday afternoon at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn. His condition was serious, but was expected to improve.
The woman with eye injuries was in fair condition.
Another woman, whose name was also not available, was treated on scene.
Before surgery could begin on Logan, the hospital emergency department was closed for an hour so Rural Metro could check for "chemically toxic substances."
Police did not release details about where the package originated. A return address was listed, Dirren said, and the package was delivered to the city either by U.S Postal Service or other means.
Delivery of city mail was halted and will remain so for the rest of the afternoon and until "we can be assured all mail is safe," Dirren said.
"We are investigating this aggressively," said Mike Phillips, a spokesman for the city.
Scottsdale's Office of Diversity & Dialogue was formed in 1998, after the city came under fire for alleged racial prejudice in the Police Department. Over the past five years, the city has worked to create training programs for city employees and the community.
The office also takes complaints from citizens and city employees.
Dirren said he was unaware of any threats or orders of protection against employees in the Office of Diversity and Dialogue.
The explosion trigged a warning and a sweep of mailrooms at other Valley cities.
In Phoenix, Mayor Phil Gordon had just arrived at the Phoenix municipal building when the news about Scottsdale hit. Gordon was kept out of his office while his security detail did a check of all his incoming mail. Police also checked the city's main mailroom for any suspicious packages or letters, officials said.
The explosion also blocked traffic at Miller between Osborn and Indian School roads, 75th Street was also closed and the explosion prompted a lockdown at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church School.
As a precaution, nearby buildings were also shut down. The Human Resources building houses about 30 employees and includes the benefits, personnel, hiring and training departments and a computer lab.
This is the second explosion to hit a Scottsdale office in the past few months.
In December, two city workers were injured while working on an electrical panel at Scottsdale City Hall. That explosion cut power to City Hall and forced the evacuation of nearly 100 people.
Reporter Ginger D. Richardson contributed to this story.