Mysterious substance sickens residents in Idaho

Sign up for the Hazmatnation mailing list!


HMN-Two residents were sickened after coming in contact with an unknown substance they found beneath their sink.  One resident handed the unknown powder to the other where he “Opened it up, and stuck his face in it.” KTVB

EMMETT — Two Emmett residents have been released from the hospital after exposure to a then-unknown substance made them sick Thursday night.

Authorities say the incident started at about 5:30 p.m. at ahome in the 800 block of South Boise Avenue in Emmett.

Billie Hough, who lives in the house, said she found a plastic bag containing an substance under her bathroom sink.

“It was two one-gallon bags inside of each other with what looked to be three, four pounds of gray [contents]” she said. “I handed it to my ex-husband and he opened it up and stuck his face in it.”

Immediately, Hough said, her ex began coughing, then began to vomit.

Hough siad she was also exposed to the substance as she tried to close the bag back up. When she accidentally got some of the substance on her arm, she could feel her skin burning, she said.

“I got on the phone with the fire department to have them come out and find out what it was, because we didn’t know,” she said. “We just knew we couldn’t throw it away, and he was in pretty bad shape.”

The incident triggered a massive response, with Emmett police, EMS and fire all responding to the house. Emmett Deputy Fire Chief Mike Giery called in the REgion III HAZMAT team stationed in Caldwell, which in turn contacted the 101ST Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, a National Guard unit designed to respond to any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident within the United States.

“The whole neighborhood was shut down,” Hough said.

Both patients were taken by ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for assessment, although both were released by Friday morning.

Hough said investigators told her they determined the substance was a cleaning chemical – butyl sulfate sodium salt – typically used as a pool cleaner or deep cleaner. It had been brought into her home by a caregiver, she said.

Emergency responders cleared the scene by about 12:30 a.m. Hough said she was grateful for the swift response.

“They did wonderful, they did everything they should have done to get people safe,”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: