Body found during HAZMAT investigation



HMN-A body was found in a Davis, California hotel room while a HAZMAT investigation was being carried out.  The Davis Enterprise reported that the HAZMAT team confirmed the presence of a gas in the room, and the death is thought to be a suicide.

A body was discovered Tuesday afternoon inside a downtown Davis hotel room where a strange odor triggered a hazardous-materials response.

“We’re investigating it as a suspected suicide at this point,” Lt. Paul Doroshov said of the adult male found inside the second-floor room at the Best Western University Lodge, 123 B St.

While it was not immediately clear when the man had died, his remains were not believed to be the source of the gas-like odor, which first was detected at about 1 p.m.

“The smell was some kind of man-made thing. What it is we won’t know until they test it in a lab,” Doroshov said.

Though it will be up to Yolo County coroner’s officials to determine the man’s cause and manner of death, “at this point in the investigation, we don’t believe that anyone else was involved in this incident, or that there were any other intentional victims,” Doroshov added.

According to Doroshov, it was Davis Fire Department that first received a report of “some kind of gas smell” emanating from one of the University Lodge rooms. Multiple police and fire crews from Davis and UC Davis responded to the scene.

The hotel was evacuated and two blocks of B Street shut off to traffic while a hazmat crew was summoned to determine the source and nature of the odor.

“We’ve just been standing out here for a couple of hours now,” Matthew Morris, the hotel’s manager, said as he stood on the northeast corner of Second and B streets with his fellow employees. “They haven’t told us anything.”

About 20 workers and guests were affected by the evacuation, Morris said. He noted that someone had checked into the second-floor room the day before and was supposed to have checked out at 11 a.m. Tuesday, but apparently never did.

Shortly before 3 p.m., several police officers entered a second-story room with their guns drawn, only to quickly retreat. They entered a second time, but again only briefly.

“At this point we’ve determined there is a gaseous hazardous material in that room,” Doroshov said afterward. “They’re going to let it air out and send in a crew with hazmat suits to get another reading.”

About a half-hour later, Doroshov confirmed that a body had been found.




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One comment

  1. Depending on what the gas was, airing out the room may not have been the smart move. Many military weapon gases are so toxic that even diluted folks will die. And if it were something like an anthrax dust cloud there would be a lot of folks in trouble right away.
    A bit of training and then it is often clear as to what the gas is. Chlorine, bromine, acids, and even carbon dioxide all have odors easy to identify. And others, like acetylene, give a warning to run away fast unless you can shut it off immediately. The reason is that acetylene can explode in open air, it does not need any compression to explode.

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