Police believe a chlorine gas leak was meant to cause harm during Midwest FurFest last weekend.
A chlorine gas leak interrupted the annual furry convention Midwest FurFest Sunday morning as the Hyatt Regency O'Hare at in Rosemont, Illinois, evacuated the hotel at 1:10 a.m. following reports of a chemical odor. First responders determined the odor to be a high level of chlorine gas, which police believe was intentionally caused.
Rosemont police stated the manner the substance was released, consistent with powdered chlorine, "suggests an intentional act." Police are investigating the incident as a criminal matter.
Hazmat teams found the source of the chlorine in a stairwell on the ninth floor of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. After evacuating, 19 people complained of nausea and dizziness and were then transported to local hospitals. Hyatt Regency O'Hare stated some of those individuals were released by later Sunday morning.
Guests attending Midwest FurFest, a convention for people interested in anthropomorphic animals, moved to the Stephens Convention Center for warmth and shelter after police determined an investigation would take more time. The hotel reopened at 4:20 a.m., according to Midwest FurFest.
"As we wake up today we want to continue to provide the best possible convention that we can, despite the trying circumstances," Midwest Furfest stated Sunday morning on its website. "The convention will be running on a full normal programming schedule today. We ask you to continue to be patient, and remember that the volunteers who make Midwest FurFest happen intend to give 110% to make sure that the fun, friendship, and good times of Midwest FurFest 2014 overshadow last night's unfortunate incident.
Neither the convention nor the hotel will offer refunds because the incident was an "unforeseen possibly criminal act."