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Package mixup may have led to material being shipped to Drummond church


ENID, Okla. (AP) _ A mixup may have led to a hazardous substance being shipped to a Drummond church, where three lawmen who came in contact with it were temporarily hospitalized, authorities said.

Two Garfield County sheriff's deputies and the Drummond police chief experienced skin irritations and breathing difficulty after they handled the package containing nickel chloride, which is used for plating.

Garfield County Sheriff Bill Winchester said Thursday that the boxes may have been damaged at the same time and their labeling mixed up at the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Federal Express site.

When they relabeled it, the label was supposed to go on the books, Winchester said.

The package originally meant for First Baptist Church in Drummond hasn't been found, he said.

The substance was turned over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which will soon destroy the material, a spokesman said.

Winchester said county lawmen met Thursday to discuss how the situation was handled and what could have been done differently.

Area lawmen are trained for a variety of situations, but training with hazardous materials and biohazards has been omitted because of the high number of narcotics cases the lawmen see, he said.

``Hazmat training is something we've neglected,'' Winchester said.

The night the substance was discovered, area lawmen took it to the Garfield County Fairgrounds and sealed off the area.

``We should have left it at the church,'' Winchester said.

Winchester said the consensus at the meeting was that the situation was handled well but communication could have been improved.

A hazardous material training class is set for next month, Winchester said.
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