One dead, 8 sickened in California hotel hazmat incident treated as suicide involving chemicals

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One person has died and at least 8 more sickened in a hazmat incident at a California hotel over the weekend that is being investigated as a suicide, police said.

San Jose police Officer Gina Tepoorten confirmed the nature of the investigation at a press conference Sunday, declining to go into further detail about the circumstances surrounding the death of an adult female at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose the previous morning.

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Hotel staff called the police at around 10 a.m. Saturday to report a foul chemical order, similar to that of a rotten egg, that had left guests and employees feeling faint, light-headed and short of breath.

Fire crews gather on Market Street outside the Hotel Fairmont in downtown San Jose, Calif., after a report of a chemical odor Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.
(Nico Savidge/San Jose Mercury News via AP)

San Jose Fire Dept. Captain Mitch Matlow said that 79 rooms, with over 120 guests, were evacuated after the chemical smell was detected on the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th floors, KTVU reported.

The fire department’s hazardous materials team responded to the scene where officials say exposure to the chemical was believed to be “very brief.”

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Matlow said immediately following the incident that the eight people sickened were believed to be hotel employees. Several other people had minor symptoms but "have gotten better with fresh air."

Officials said Sunday that they were able to identify the chemicals involved but declined to elaborate citing the police investigation.

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The deceased person’s name will be released following next-of-kin notification, police said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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