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Suspicious package spurs mailroom alert

A package containing an unknown substance caused emergency officials to respond to an Amherst collection agency Monday morning, though an investigation found no adverse health effects in any employees.

Four mailroom workers at National Action Financial Services on Lawrence Bell Drive encountered the material and called 911 at about 10:40 a.m., Amherst police said.

The four were kept in an isolated area until Erie County hazmat officials removed the substance, said Gregory W. Skibitsky, commissioner of the Erie County Department of Emergency Services.

The material will be sent to a lab for analysis, officials said.

"We don't anticipate any health issues," Skibitsky said early Monday afternoon. "We're just going through our normal procedures and processes."

Officials would not describe the package or the substance found inside it.

The FBI is investigating the matter, said spokeswoman Maureen Dempsey.

The building the company occupies is shared with other tenants, but officials said they were not concerned about exposure to people in other parts of the building because of the isolated setup and location of the mailroom.

Paul Labaki, NAFS's vice president and counsel, who was on the scene after the incident, said he wasn't sure how many employees were in the building at the time of the incident.

NAFS is a unit of Sitel Corp., a global call center company based in Omaha.

In December, the company agreed to pay $85,000 to settle charges with the state attorney general's office it used illegal pressure tactics to collect debts.

The Amherst site is located between Transit and South Youngs Road, south of Wehrle Drive.
e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com1

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