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Packages Of Dead Rats Prompt Post Office Evacuation

Postal workers in West Palm Beach, Fla., allegedly got sick after handling packages that had 200 dead rats in them.
Posted at 11:36 AM, Dec 23, 2014

"Oh, rats!" has a different meaning now. 

Some postal workers in West Palm Beach, Florida, say they got sick after handling packages that contained, wait for it ... 200 dead rats. 

"Jorge, a priest of Ifa of the Yoruba culture, has jungle rats shipped over from Africa. They're used for healing ceremonies and rituals. ... Jorge believes that the workers smelled moth balls inside the package, which is used to preserve the dehydrated rats," the WPTV anchor says. 

Jorge Castillo gets three shipments of the rats a year and hasn't had a problem in the past. But WPTV reports he arrived at the post office last week to pick up his latest shipment and saw people wearing protective gear. 

Castillo sells the wild jungle rats for $50 apiece in his Florida religious artifacts stores. And the story gets weirder. After the post office evacuation, a bomb squad showed up at Castillo's shop.

The Palm Beach Post reports the bomb squad removed the door to his shop and sent in a robot to retrieve a package. 

According to the paper: "Castillo paid $300 to have his door repaired, a bill he wants the city to pay. He also wants answers from the post office and the city about the way they handled the incident."

Ultimately, hazmat officials concluded the packages were nontoxic, so officials aren't sure why people got sick in the first place. A fire department official guessed the reaction might have to do with the Ebola virus scare. The postal workers were back to work Monday.