Rosemont police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 12:47 a.m. to the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 9300 Bryn Mawr to a report that someone broke a bottle with a chemical with a strong chlorine smell on the ninth floor. Firefighters were informed by 9-1-1 dispatch that people in room 963 reported that there was a strong chlorine smell and at least four people were forced to go out on the hotel room balcony.
Firefighters at about 1:00 a.m. reported finding a broken glass bottle on the ninth floor in the stairwell that initially showed a reading as high as 20.6 on the chlorine meter. Next, firefighters reported they made entry into the stairwell and firefighters reported that “whatever the substance is, it is overloading our chlorine meter.”
At 1:04 a.m. firefighters reported that the source is a plain glass jar with a white powdered substance as contents. In the open air environment of the vestibule, firefighters detected a reading of 4 on the chlorine meter.
Firefighters activated an EMS Box Alarm about 1:03 a.m. and a HazMat alarm about 1:07 a.m. The EMS Box Alarm was eventually elevated to a third alarm, which brings more than 15 ambulances to the scene.
Initially four people were transported to Resurrection Hospital at about 1:20 a.m. and five people were transported to Lutheran General Hospital. Patients were transported from the scene or walking up to paramedics as late as 3:35 a.m. Sunday. Patients were reported to have been transported to Resurrection Hospital, Gottlieb, Lutheran General, Westlake, and Our Lady of Resurrection (“Little Rez”).
People were allowed to return to the dance floor and lower convention area, but people were then evacuated back out of the dance area.
Firefighter/paramedics from Arlington Heights, Bellwood, Chicago O’Hare’s Squad 7, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Elk Grove Township, Elmhurst, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Norwood Park, Park Ridge and other communities responded to assist.
The HazMat box was struck out about 3:00 a.m. A witness reported about 4:21 a.m. that an “All Clear” was given to guests to return inside the hotel “about 30 seconds ago.” The EMS Box Alarm for extra ambulances was struck out at about 4:23 a.m. Sunday.
A 15-minute video starting just before 1:30 a.m. shows about 100 people outside the hotel with firefighter/paramedics arriving near the Expoteria Restaurant convention center.
The Skokie Valley Kennel Club was hosting an all breed dog show at the convention center from Friday, December 5,2014 to Sunday, December 7, 2014. The furry character costumes were apparently part of the Midwest FurFest 2014 — another group that was using the hotel and amenities.
YouTube channel publisher Axio Wolf provided video coverage from the street outside the hotel, which was also reported to be a live stream broadcast from another video service.
CDC/NIOSH HEALTH EFFECTS OF CHLORINE …
An official media release has not yet stated that the substance was confirmed to be chlorine. However, the odor described, and the symptoms reported at the scene are consistent with chlorine exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of chlorine exposure are burning of the eyes, nose, mouth; lacrimation (discharge of tears), rhinorrhea (discharge of thin nasal mucus); cough, choking, substernal (occurring beneath the sternum) pain; nausea, vomiting; headache, dizziness; syncope. Medical signs include pulmonary edema; pneumonitis; hypoxemia (reduced O2 in the blood); dermatitis. Liquid contact can cause frostbite.
According to a NIOSH publication (CAS Number 7782-50-5) the Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH) number for chlorine exposure is 30 ppm. According to CDC (NIOSH), the chosen IDLH is based on the statement by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1971 that exposure to 30 ppm will cause intense coughing fits, and exposure to 40 to 60 ppm for 30 to 60 minutes or more may cause serious damage.
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