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Motel evacuated, spill under investigation

March 26, 2013

Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock

Wapakoneta Police Department personnel are investigating the possibility that someone intentionally poured a chemical down the hallway of a local motel.

Guests staying in 10 rooms and one employee were evacuated from the building when the call came in at 8:07 a.m. Monday from someone at the hotel.

Members of the Wapakoneta Fire Department received the original call for some type of chemical odor or spill at the hotel at 1510 Saturn Drive, said Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock, whose officers responded to the scene along with firefighters and the Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) officials.

“The motel was evacuated for precautionary matters and rooms checked,” Hunlock said.

He said they were investigating the possibility that a chemical from a hotel storage room intentionally was poured onto a hallway floor.

The police chief said no one was hurt or injured.

Less than a gallon of muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, was spilled. The highly corrosive acid is a clear, colorless solution of hydrogen chloride in water.

The acid is corrosive to eyes, skin and mucous membranes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Short term inhalation and exposure may cause eye, nose and respiratory tract irritation and inflammation.

Hunlock said the motel is to remain closed until a professional chemical cleaning company can clean up the spill. There was no time line for that to occur.

Monday afternoon investigators remained at the scene.

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