At least one person died of an apparent gas poisoning at an off-campus apartment near the University of Texas where firefighters found a sign on the door that said “Stay Out: Hydrogen Sulfide Present.”
Austin police and firefighter and paramedics responded about 2:30 p.m. local time Thursday to the 21 Pearl Complex, 911 W 21st Street to an odor investigation and a suspicious sign on an apartment.
On arrival firefighters found a sign on an apartment door that said “Stay Out: Hydrogen Sulfide Present.” Firefighters geared up for hazardous material protection, and elevated the response to a HazMat call. Inside the apartment, firefighters found a young adult male in cardiac arrest.
One person died and 11 others were injured (six eventually hospitalized) after being exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas in what authorities was an apparent case of chemical suicide.
The Austin-Travis County EMS reports the person who died was a man in his 20s.
Hydrogen Sulfide gas has a strong smell of rotten eggs, but the sense of smell can be fatigued or adapted so that the smell is no longer detected after continuous exposure. The gas is colorless.
Hydrogen Sulfide gas causes irritation eyes, apnea (respiratory arrest), coma, convulsions, conjunctivitis, eye pain, lacrimation (discharge of tears), photophobia (abnormal visual intolerance to light), corneal vesiculation (blistering); dizziness, headache, lassitude (weakness, exhaustion), irritability, insomnia; gastrointestinal disturbance
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