Package explodes in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A package that exploded in a downtown apartment early Tuesday included an “actual device” that was meant to injure, officials said, and a man is hospitalized with hand and chest injuries.

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were working with U.S. Postal Inspectors and the city bomb squad on the cause of the blast that injured 62-year-old Center City man about 4 a.m.

The man received the package Monday evening and opened it early Tuesday, apparently believing it contained an inhaler or other type of medicine, police said.

Although the package was “target specific” investigators don’t consider it an act of terrorism, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. It wasn’t immediately clear if police know or suspect who sent the package or why. Other details about the device were not immediately available.

The victim was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and was in stable condition with injuries to his chest and hands.

“As far as I know, there were no threats prior to this and no threats since,” Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

The man opened the package near the stove in the kitchen of the apartment he shares with a roommate, leading police to initially believe the blast may have been an accidental explosion caused by an inhaler getting too close to heat.

The damage from the blast was confined to the kitchen and included broken glass, Small said.

Ten residents were evacuated from nearby apartments, but were allowed to return after the bomb squad cleared other packages.

The victim’s roommate told police that the man often receives medical inhalers in the mail. The device that exploded was contained in a manila envelope.

By Patricia Older

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