Hazmat team checking air at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor for suspected explosive gas
A Washtenaw County hazmat team is checking the air at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital for an explosive and flammable gas after a man who swallowed mole poisoning was admitted to the hospital.
Ingesting certain poisons, such as rodent poisoning, can cause an individual to breathe toxins into the air, said Marc Breckenridge, sheriff’s office emergency services director. The suspected toxin is phosphine gas, Breckenridge said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, phosphine can ignite spontaneously on contact with air.
The Washtenaw County Hazardous Materials Response Team received a call around 10 a.m. and is working on the sixth floor of the hospital in Superior Township, sheriff’s spokesman Derrick Jackson said. The hospital was not evacuated or shut down.
The scope of the situation is isolated to one patient room, said health system spokesperson Lauren Jones via email.
"Any potential exposure has been contained," she wrote just before noon.
"The patient was and remains isolated, and St. Joseph Mercy is working closely with local hazmat emergency responders to quickly assess and resolve the situation," Jones added.
Read an update to this story here.