One person was hospitalized after coming into contact with a “foreign substance” at the corporate offices of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement emailed to Newsweek on Tuesday night that that a male victim of unknown age was admitted to the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center “in an unknown condition after coming in contact with a skin irritant” in the afternoon.
Police bomb and arson units, as well as a hazardous materials response team, were reportedly called to the Cubs office near Wrigley Field, according to CBS News.
In a statement to Chicago ABC station WLS, the Cubs identified the employee as a member of its security team who had suffered an “allergic reaction” to the unknown substance. The team said the employee had since been released from the hospital.
“This afternoon, a member of our security team detected a foreign substance that was contained in a small package delivered to our offices at 1101 West Waveland,” the Cubs statement reads. “We immediately notified authorities which prompted a Chicago Fire Department hazmat response.”
“The employee noticed an allergic reaction and was transported to the hospital as a precaution and has since been released,” it continues. “At this time, we have not been asked to leave the building or shelter in place while the safety assessment and investigation is underway.”
Kris Habermehl, Airborne Spot news reporter for Chicago CBS station WBBM, shared multiple photos on X, formerly Twitter, of emergency responders and vehicles at the office. Habermehl wrote that “Waveland Avenue remains blocked from Clark to Kenmore” with the bomb squad still on scene as of 5:44 p.m. local time.
Although the team did not provide any additional information on who was present, it is unlikely that any Cubs players were inside the building at the time of the incident. The Cubs’ Major League Baseball season ended last week with the team failing to make the playoffs.
Suspicious packages sent through the mail typically prompt a serious response from law enforcement. While many incidents turn out to be false alarms or hoaxes, packages sometimes contain actual poison or explosive devices.
Mailing dangerous chemicals or substances is a federal crime. However, the U.S. Postal Service, which has a law enforcement arm that utilizes a series of screening techniques intended to weed out dangerous materials and devices, says that the risk of anyone receiving a truly harmful package is “extremely remote.”
“The likelihood of anyone receiving a harmful biological or chemical agent is extremely remote,” the website of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service states. “Postal Inspectors within the Dangerous Mail Investigations Program are specially trained to recognize the common characteristics of suspicious mail and use an array of specialized screening equipment to identify and mitigate threats to postal infrastructure, its employees, and the general public.”
Update: 10/10/23, 7:45 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information.