‘Chemical Warfare' Comment Leads to Hazmat Incident at Yale New Haven Hospital

Emergency officials said a man came to the hospital and threw a towel at an employee, saying it was “chemical warfare”

Part of Yale New Haven Hospital was evacuated Monday night when a man came into the hospital and threw a towel at an employee, saying it was “chemical warfare,” according to emergency officials, and police continue to look for him.

New Haven's Director of Emergency Operations Rick Fontana said the situation started just after 10 p.m. when a man in the waiting room of the emergency department took a towel out of a backpack, threw it on a desk in a rage, saying something to the effect that it was "chemical warfare."

Fire officials said the man started yelling and demanding to speak to someone in charge before throwing the stained towel on the desk.

It was not immediately clear what the towel was contaminated with and the man has not been identified.

Officials collected the substance and they are working to determine what it is.

New Haven Fire Chief John A. Alston, Jr. said all of the preliminary hazard metering has not shown the towel contained anything dangerous and secondary tests are being done.

Approximately 35 people were evacuated from the area and three were isolated and decontaminated for potential exposure, emergency officials said. No one has shown any symptoms, Fontana said, and it is not clear if the substance on the towel is harmful, but they are treating it as hazardous out of an abundance of caution.

Authorities said the suspect left the scene and is not in custody.

The man police are looking for is around 5-feet-6, has a medium build and short black hair. 

He was wearing glasses, a black jacket, light blue jeans and gray shoes and had a black backpack.

The emergency department remains open.

No other details were immediately available.

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