Ford opens plant after Anthrax probe

Preliminary test on worker is negative

Ford Motor Co. resumed production at its Edison, N.J., assembly plant Monday, Oct. 15, after evacuating the building over the weekend while state health authorities investigated an unconfirmed report that a plant worker had been exposed to anthrax.

Preliminary tests to determine if the worker has been exposed to anthrax are negative, said Kathleen Hamilton, Ford spokeswoman. Final test results may be released later Monday, Oct. 15, she said.

"There is no indication of the presence of anthrax or any security threat at the plant,'' Hamilton said.

The plant itself was not considered a possible source of anthrax exposure, she said.

But New Jersey health authorities sought the plant's evacuation at about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, after a male worker at the plant began undergoing tests for anthrax exposure. Ford asked the 201 maintenance and construction workers to exit the plant.

"There has never been any question of the plant being involved,'' Hamilton said. "The worker just happened to be a plant employee.''

About 5 p.m. on Saturday, health authorities indicated "that it was highly unlikely that anthrax was involved in the Edison employee's illness,'' Hamilton said.

On Sunday, maintenance and construction crews returned to the plant, she said. Assembly resumed the next day.

The plant builds the Ford Ranger and the Mazda B-series truck.

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