Summit County emergency crews don hazmat suits to respond to Frisco suicide
On Monday, Nov. 17, Summit County emergency personnel responded to the scene of a suicide in Frisco.
A 60-year-old second-home owner had inhaled hydrogen sulfide, a toxic combination of chemicals he mixed in his car, outside his house at 91 Stellar Jay Road in the Bill’s Ranch neighborhood.
On the outside of his car, the man had posted several signs warning anyone who approached of danger.
Hydrogen sulfide is colorless, highly flammable and explosive, and smells like rotten eggs, though the odor doesn’t always provide enough warning of high concentrations that can be deadly to inhale.
County Coroner Tim Keeling said the situation created a potentially serious health threat and a challenge for the first responders, including employees from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, the Frisco Police Department, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the High Country Training Center’s hazardous-materials team.
“Whenever you don’t know what you’re dealing with, you always think safety first,” Keeling said, and “not just our safety but the community’s safety.”
Led by Red White and Blue Fire District batallion chief Ryan Roberts, the response team ensured that no nearby residents were exposed to any residues or gases.
“They were putting yellow tape everywhere,” said Charlotte Clarke, a next-door neighbor.
The responders donned protective suits and breathing equipment to recover and conduct a preliminary decontamination of the body at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, and a chemical cleanup company was brought in from Denver to decontaminate the vehicle.
Roberts said responders were called around 2 p.m. and had cleared the scene by about 6.
“At no point was the public endangered, and the crews did an excellent job of containing the hazardous materials and eliminating the threat,” said Dave Parmley, Lake Dillon Fire chief. “I was very pleased to see how everyone worked together and dealt with this unusual situation and did so with safety first and foremost in mind.”
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