WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A motel in Wheat Ridge was evacuated Saturday because of suspected hazardous materials.

The evacuation occurred at the American Motel near Interstate 70 and Kipling Road after a call came in around 6:30 p.m. reporting that several people said they were sick. Hazmat crews showed up and the entire hotel ended up being evacuated.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Hundreds of people were forced out and three people were taken to the hospital to be evaluated. Fire officials told CBS4’s Jeff Todd that was precautionary, but one resident said her friend was vomiting after something came through the ventilation system.

Hazmat crews suited up and found a room on the third floor with a substance on the wall. Tests showed it was a substance similar to pepper spray

“My husband and I came out of the fifth floor and there was kind of an odor and we kind of had a little bit of coughing and a couple minutes later the cops showed up and told us we needed to go,” motel guest Randi Eckman said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“When we come into a situation where there’s several ill parties we’re going to take the highest level of precaution, and we don’t know what it is. When we made entry into that room and we couldn’t find a container and so we have no idea what the identity is and we’ll treat it with the highest level of safety,” Fire Marshall Kevin Ferry with the Arvada Fire Department said.

Firefighters kept looking in trash cans and around the hotel because that source was never found. The chemical that tested positive was capsaicin.

It was a long night for first responders, an even longer night for those who were forced out of their rooms for about three hours.


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