Firefighters Race to FedEx Facility After Damaged Radioactive Package Discovered

Firefighters have raced to a German FedEx facility after employees discovered a damaged radioactive package.

Crews arrived at the Würzburg FedEx depot, in southern Germany, after they were alerted that a radioactive package had been discovered at the site on Tuesday morning.

According to German media, the 15-inch by 24-inch package with a hazardous substances warning was found by an employee, who quickly told senior bosses.

Once firefighters arrived, they cordoned off the area and carried out a search of nearby shipping items.

Dresden-based Tag24 said four employees had come in direct contact with the package.

Christoph Hartmann, the press spokesperson for the Würzburg Fire Brigade, told the outlet the employees were given medical care and checked for any injuries.

He added there was no trace of increased radiation exposure and that they were referred to a doctor for further examination before they can return to work.

A cordon was lifted shortly after the site had been secured.

The package was later taken for examination and will be disposed of once an investigation has been carried out.

It was not reported what the substance is and what had caused the damage to the package.

A spokesperson for FedEx told Newsweek: "We can confirm that there was an incident involving a shipment at our location in Würzburg earlier today. The fire department was alerted immediately and quickly secured the area.

"We can confirm that no radiation leak occurred and no employees were harmed as a result of the incident. The station has since been cleared to re-open and standard activities have resumed."

According to Germany's Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (FOSNWM), more than half a million packages containing radioactive material are transported within the country.

It stated that most of the transportations are radioactive material which is used in measuring, research and for medical purposes.

In order to safely transport radiative material, the organization states the packages must be able to endure severe accidents.

Under regulations for the transport of dangerous goods, including radioactive material, the FOSNWM is responsible for approving transport packages.

When deciding to grant an application, the FOSNWM "considers the radiological aspects such as radiation shielding and criticality safety."

FedEx also transports other medical items. It recently stepped up in the battle against COVID-19 to distribute vaccines across the U.S.

According to the company, the first batches delivered through the courier service happened following months of preparation between distributors and health companies.

In a statement published earlier this year, a FedEx spokesperson said: "We are utilizing our SenseAware ID monitoring technology and our Priority Alert service to track vaccine shipments as they move through our FedEx Express network in the U.S.

"And we have dedicated customer support agents who are monitoring vaccine shipments, ready to intervene should issues such as weather, traffic congestion of customs clearance cause delay and threaten delivery times."

A radiation leak happened at the facility
The radiation leak happened at a FedEx facility in Germany. In this photo, FedEx car is seen on August 24, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Jeremy Moeller / Contributor/Getty