Chemical Smell Forces Evacuation of Low Country Lodge - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/06/05

Chemical Smell Forces Evacuation of Low Country Lodge

A Powerful chemical smell forced the evacuation of a Low Country lodge...and it turns out that the problem was with one of the guests. The Beaufort Lodge is located on Ribault Road in Port Royal, South Carolina.

Police say the guest was "huffing" or "inhaling" chemicals in his room, trying to get high. Around 11:15 this morning hazmat crews suited up to handle a call at the lodge in port royal.

They were tipped off about a chemical odor by the hotel's manager, Lealani Harper. "I smelled some very rank smells. I investigated, and found that it was in one of the rooms. When I opened the door, it was so overpowering that I immediately called police to find out what to do, and the fire department came. They came within minutes. I was pretty concerned, yeah."

Firefighters evacuated the hotel and then went into the room with gas masks and a gas meter. All atmospheric conditions were normal, but that may have been because the manager of the hotel left the door to the room open after she went inside. She showed the hazmat crew the cans of carburetor cleaner she found in a bag outside the room.

Daniel Byrne of the Beaufort Fire Department says that,"Any report of any chemicals is possibly explosive, not only explosive but inherently dangerous to life and health as well. So, any chemical report we take very seriously."

A few minutes later, the man who was staying in the room--showed up. Police say that he smelled like the carburetor cleaner, and believe he had been inhaling it.

Police arrested Robert Williams for public drunkenness, and other charges are pending. The fire department says that no one at the hotel complained of any problems from breathing in the fumes from the carburetor cleaner.

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