PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Guests of the InTown Suites on McKnight Road in Ross Township were evacuated just before 9 a.m. for what officials say is related to pesticide exposure.
Ross Township Police say they were called to the InTown Suites following reports of hotel guests with respiratory symptoms. EMS and Allegheny County hazmat were called in and it was determined the symptoms were due to pesticide exposure.
KDKA was told the hotel put bait traps around the outside perimeter of the building to control the rat population. When the traps got wet from the rain, it created a gas called phosphene, which can be dangerous to humans if enough of it is ingested.
"When it mixes with water, and I'm not sure what brand or what company, or what the active ingredients were in that rat bait, but there is a known thing where different types of rat control substances, whenever they mix with water, can create phosphene gas," said Brian Kohlhepp, deputy chief of Ross Township Police.
Seven people were transported to area hospitals and four were treated on-scene, none of which are critical.
"We thought it was the fall change, but not with the headaches, the nausea, the body aches, the neuropathy, the tingling in your extremities," hotel guest Pamela Hydress said.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Transit brought busses in for temporary shelter while the fire department worked to ventilate the building to try and get guests back into their rooms safely.
Hotel management told KDKA they hope to welcome guests back by Monday's end.
"Home is where the heart is. You don't want home to be where the hurt is," guest Garrett Powell said.
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