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1 dead, situation under investigation after patient brings sodium cyanide to Waterbury Hospital

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WATERBURY — One person is dead after a bizarre incident that occurred in Waterbury Friday.

Several emergency crews, including police, fire and the DEEP emergency response team, responded to Waterbury Hospital. DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said they were cleaning up “a chemical contamination incident.”

It all started when, Friday morning, Waterbury Fire Department and EMS were called to American Electroplating at Thomaston Avenue for a person “in distress with a health issue.”

The patient went into cardiac arrest and was transported to Waterbury Hospital, Schain said.  At the hospital, a plastic bag was found in his pocket that had “sodium cyanide” written on it, and was a salt in powder form. Powder was found on the patient’s clothing.

The man died, according to DEEP Emergency Response Coordinator Ken LeClerc, but he could not say if it was due to the chemical exposure or something else.

How and why the man was exposed to the chemical in the first place is being investigated by Waterbury Police.

The fire department shut down the Emergency Room and isolated the heating and ventilation system so as not to spread the chemical. American Electroplating also hired an environmental contractor to do the decontamination of the ER and ambulance that transported the victim.

Normal operations have since resumed, and no other victims showed signs of exposure to the sodium cyanide.

DEEP will not test the powder “given the circumstances,” but law enforcement may further investigate.

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