Hotel Evacuated After Toxic Suicide

Woman, 80, used dangerous chemical in room

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2014 1:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – The landmark Berkeley City Club was evacuated yesterday after an 80-year-old resident used a toxic chemical to kill herself in her room. Police in the California city say Hazmat teams and bomb squad technicians were called in after a note was found outside the woman's third-story apartment warning of the danger, the Oakland Tribune reports.

Police say a "known quantity of what appeared to be a hazardous material has been removed" and steps are being taken to make the building—which houses both hotel guests and residents—safe, reports Berkeleyside. The woman is believed to have used sodium azide, a colorless salt used as the gas-forming component in car airbag systems. It becomes extremely toxic when mixed with water.

The historic Berkeley City Club was built in 1929 by architect Julia Morgan.
The historic Berkeley City Club was built in 1929 by architect Julia Morgan.   (Wikipedia/Sanfranman59)
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