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Posted on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

Hazmat team checking air at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor for suspected explosive gas

By Juliana Keeping

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.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


Alan Loughrige

Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

I have been hearing about this story and reading about it for the last couple of days..This person is a good friend of mine..Nobody knows what another person could be struggling with and or what they are going through..So If you feel you have to make comments,keep in mind that you are talking about another human being and their life,not yours...

Momma G

Tue, Apr 26, 2011 : 2 a.m.

How the heck does this guy ingest mole poison anyway! My husband has a trap he uses not some toxin to kill them. What more is to this story?


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

It's over. Time to update the story.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

HOLY MOLEy !!! I bet alot of people passed gas, after observing the Haz Mat team walking through the halls with their scary outfits on.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

if you want details, read the Freep! "the patient apparently ingested rodent poison" patient was admitted Sat evening or Sunday am -but began emiting the gas today, is in intensive care, am guessing patient is unconcious so could not tell staff what was ingested.

True Facts

Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Really,,,, all those resources for that. To hard to belive


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

Rodent poison. What's the problem? Moles aren't rodents. Seriously, there's obviously more to this story than meets the eye. Since it's obvious that no one would be stupid enough to eat mole poison. And how would he tunnel down to get at it. This important story needs much more investigation.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

I wonder if this was a suicide attempt or terrorist attack...

Turd Ferguson

Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Seriously? omg, please provide a link to MSDS or something. This is actually hard to believe.


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Zinc phosphide is classified as a Category I toxin by the EPA for oral intake and inhalation exposure. Wet conditions create the toxic phosphine gas. Inhaling this gas through examination of an infected animal or its vomit can poison people Read more: Zinc Phosphide Mole Poison | <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>