Austin explosion injures at least one person, authorities say


March 21, 2018 12:59:37

Emergency personnel are responding to another explosion in Austin, Texas, this one at a store in the southern part of the city, authorities say.

Key points:

  • Injuries to man in his 30s are non life-threatening
  • Its the sixth explosion in Austin area since March 2
  • FedEx to screen every package at two facilities

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services tweeted that at least one person, a man in his 30s, was injured but was expected to survive.

Austin police, the FBI and other agencies were at the scene of the Tuesday evening explosion at a Goodwill store.

It was the sixth explosion in the Austin area since March 2, but police and federal authorities said it was caused by an “incendiary device” and was not related to the series of bombs that has rocked Texas’s capital city.

Before the report of the Goodwill blast, it had already been a busy day for authorities.

Before dawn on Tuesday, a bomb inside a package exploded about 1:00am as it passed along a conveyer belt at a FedEx shipping centre near San Antonio, causing minor injuries to a worker.

The Austin Police Department, the FBI and other federal agencies confirmed that the package centre blast was related to four previous ones that killed two people and seriously injured four others.

That explosion occurred at a FedEx facility in Schertz, just north-east of San Antonio and about 95 kilometres south-west of Austin.

Later in the morning, police sent a bomb squad to a FedEx facility outside the Austin airport to check on a suspicious package that was reported about 6:20am.

Federal agencies and police later said that package had indeed contained an explosive that was successfully intercepted by authorities.

They added that the intercepted package, too, was believed to be related to the other bombings.

FedEx to screen every package at two facilities

FedEx Corp was now going to screen every package at the Texas facility where the parcel exploded on Tuesday, according to a FedEx manager, describing extraordinary steps the company is taking in response to the series of bombings.

The package delivery company will also X-ray entire truckloads of parcels at its sorting facility outside Austin, and then divert them elsewhere for sorting and delivery, said the FedEx employee who was not authorised to speak on the record.

The source does not work at the sorting facility, but was briefed on the situation.

“FedEx in conjunction with the authorities are field X-raying all the packages one at a time,” the employee said.

“From then on, we will be doing bulk X-rays of entire trailers.”

FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey said he had no immediate comment.

Package screening is not routine at the nation’s big delivery companies such as FedEx, United Parcel Service or the US Postal Service.

The industry delivers a total of about 40 million parcels in the US each day, industry experts said.

Checking every package on a regular basis would virtually paralyse their operations.






First posted

March 21, 2018 11:43:44

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