The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose was the center of all manner of chaos yesterday morning: A woman took her own life in a “chemical suicide,” sickening at least eight others as well and causing a mass evacuation of the Marriott-owned downtown building.
Around 10 a.m. Saturday, as ABC 7 reports, more than a dozen San Jose firefighters and first-responders were called to the Market Street address, responding to a report of an attempted suicide on the 19th floor.
“1792 South Market Street at Fairmont Hotel. Chemical suicide. [Inaudible] found a note on the room that said the subject committed suicide by poisonous gas,” was the dispatcher’s call that went out to San Jose firefighters, published by CBS SF Bay Area.
“Sounds like a chemical exposure. We are [sending] some of our personnel and we have sealed the room off,” a firefighter added to dispatchers over the radio.
When firefighters entered the 19th-floor room, they made a grisly discovery: The woman in question had already taken her life, aided by a still unknown gaseous toxin.
(Currently, the San Jose Police department are investigating the incident as a chemically-assisted suicide, according to Officer Gina Tepoorten.)
Aside from the aerosol nature of whatever chemical claimed the woman’s life, other questionable substances were found in the four-star hotel room.
"We do know there are liquids on the floor in the room and on the counter in the room. We don't know if those are a mouthwash or if those are the hazardous chemicals. Every single puddle that's in the room is going to have to be tested," said San Jose Fire Department Captain Mitch Matlow, per CNN.
In a news conference, Matlow also noted that more than 100 people were evacuated from the hotel, nodding at the fact that the “exposure to the unknown chemical” was thought to be “very brief”; in total, four floors were completely evacuated yesterday morning.
But, prior to finding the deceased woman, some hotel staff members and guests had already reported feeling ill.
San Jose fire department Capt. Mitch Matlow added that eight people — six employees of the hotel and two guests — were decontaminated and then taken to a local hospital for minor symptoms, according to ABC 7.
Thankfully, no one affected by the chemical boast life-threatening injuries, with several other people reporting only negligible symptoms that cleared-up after “[having] gotten [some] fresh air.”
“Some of them were initially complaining of feeling faint, light-headed, short of breath,” added Matlow.
Matlow, too, said in that aforementioned news conference that there is no risk of an explosive hazard in the room, nor is the air and areas around the hotel toxic. A "bad odor," however, remains in the building, and the hotel is working to fix that.
Photo: Courtesy of SJPD, via Twitter
If you are in crisis, text "BAY" to 741741 for free, 24/7, confidential crisis support from Crisis Text Line. And if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you or they should call the San Francisco Suicide Prevention crisis line at 415-781-0500.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.