11 injured, 65 quarantined in Beloit after handling envelope

CREATED Apr 17, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr 17, 2013

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BELOIT - Beloit Police and Fire crews were on scene investigating reports of at least 11 people experiencing what an official calls burning eyes after touching an envelope.

A City of Beloit spokeswoman told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jon Meerdink that the police and fire chief were both headed to Beloit Community Health after the initial report, which came in at about 10:30 a.m.

"They were responding for the report of some employees that were having side effects after handling an envelope," said spokeswoman Beth Jacobsen.

Sixty-five people were all quarantined, but as of 4 p.m. Thursday, 15 of those people have been "decontaminated."

"Of the fifteen, seven people were transported to Beloit Memorial Hospital and eight were transported Mercy Hospital for additional evaluation," Jacobson said. "This number includes two emergency responders, a three year old child, and two women who are pregnant. Some of the fifteen were transported as a precautionary measure and may not have had direct contact with the substance."

"We take all reports like that quite seriously.  Certainly, everyone's senses are heightened.  We're taking every precaution we can."

Jacobson added that 56 people are still at the Beloit Community Health facility. The 54th Civil Support Team entered the building before 4:00 p.m. and "sample the unknown substance" that was in the envelope. They will then test the substance in their mobile crime laboratory.

"The results of that test will determine the next steps," Jacobson said.

She added there was no initial reason to believe this situation is connected to any other similar criminal activity across the country.

Jon Meerdink, Lacey Crisp and Cody Holyoke contributed to this report.