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National Guard hazmat experts tapped after 2 in Emmett sickened by chemical

The Emmett Fire Department called on hazardous materials specialists with the Idaho National Guard for help in assessing an unknown substance that sickened two people Thursday.

A man and woman were transported to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise for assessment and treatment. They've since been released from the hospital in "good condition."

"Due to the unknown substance, and the signs and symptoms these patients were exhibiting, we are always better to treat these incidents with extreme caution for the safety of all involved," Emmett Fire Chief Curt Christensen said in a press release Friday.

The substance was determined to be "extremely acidic in nature," possibly pool cleaner chemicals, Christensen told the Statesman.

"They don't have a pool and have never had one," he said. "There's just a lot of unanswered questions."

It remains unknown where the substance came from, or why it was in the house. Crews have packaged it up and are ensuring that it will be properly disposed.

The incident began shortly before 5:40 p.m. Thursday. Emergency personnel were summoned to a city residence.

A man at the residence said he found a plastic bag with an unknown substance under his bathroom sink — and when he opened it to examine it, it caused him to vomit. It also caused stinging in his eyes, nose and throat. A woman who came into contact with him during the incident also reported experiencing a burning sensation.

Emmett Deputy Fire Chief Mike Giery consulted the Region III Hazmat team stationed in Caldwell, and a decision was made to tap the expertise of the Idaho National Guard's 101st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team. The team specializes in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413

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