Package Prompts Closure of Georgia Capitol

ATLANTA (AP) -- About 1,400 people were evacuated Thursday from the Georgia Capitol and five other state buildings after a worker handling a package reportedly developed a rash, officials said.

The Department of Transportation employee and 12 others who had been near the unopened package were taken to a hospital's decontamination unit. All were being released Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A police bomb squad robot and a hazardous materials team sent into the department's mail room found no indication the package was dangerous. Firefighters took it away in a black garbage bag and the evacuation order was lifted.

Tests on the package probably will be completed Friday, said Capt. Bill May, spokesman for the Atlanta Fire Department.

The employee who handled the package was the only one showing any physical symptoms.

``We just know she was handling it and got a rash after she handled the package,'' May said.

Authorities first evacuated the transportation building, then ordered people out of the Capitol, the legislative office building, the judicial building, the Agriculture Department and the Georgia Building Authority.

Most of the buildings were evacuated about 5 p.m., by which time most employees had gone home for the day, said Capt. Al Wilson of the Georgia State Patrol.