HAZMAT in Allen County jail sends 5 to hospital

HMN-Wane.com reports that while jailers were searching an inmates cell, they discovered a towel over the toilet.  Once removed, they were hit with an unknown chemical.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Four confinement officers and an inmate at the Allen County Jail were hospitalized Tuesday after some sort of hazardous materials exposure inside a cell.

First responders were called around 5 p.m. Tuesday to the Allen County Jail at 400 S. Calhoun St.

Allen County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Steve Stone said two female jailers were doing a cell search at the jail when they found a towel over a toilet. When the jailers removed the towel, Stone said they were hit in the face with a plume of smoke.

It’s not clear what they were exposed to.

Stone said the jailers immediately felt “sick, lightheaded, dizzy,” and they went to a nursing station in the jail. Two other jailers then went into the cell and quickly experienced the same symptoms, Stone said.

All four jailers were taken to a local hospital. Dispatchers initially said one person was in critical condition, but Stone said all were considered in “stable” condition.

The inmate in the cell was also taken to the hospital to be checked out, Stone said.

NewsChannel 15 saw at least two people taken from the jail wrapped in blankets and loaded into ambulances.

Stone said officials are working to determine what the material was. The jail was placed on lock down and hazmat crews were working to decontaminate the block.

No victims were identified.

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