Medical Call Causes Chemical Scare In Riley

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RILEY, Kan. (WIBW)-- Concerns about a possible chemical suicide in the town of Riley prompted a massive police response Sunday night but turned out to be a false alarm.

Police got a call from a 43-year-old man who said he needed an ambulance around 8:45 PM.

When emergency responders arrived on scene in the 200 block of North Iowa Street, they found the man inside a vehicle with condensation built up on the windows, prompting authorities to take precautions for a possible chemical suicide.

In chemical suicides, the person who wants to take their own life mixes chemicals in a confined space, creating extremely toxic fumes.

"Chemical suicides are very dangerous to first responders because essentially the cloud of fumes that’s created to actually commit the suicide doesn’t dissipate quickly enough to no longer be a harm to first responders," said Officer Matt Droge, Riley County Police Department's Public Information Officer. "Anytime an officer arrives on scene and finds indicators of a chemical suicide or any chemical-related call, extra precautions are taken because of the nature of those calls can inherently be incredibly dangerous for first responders."

The Riley County Police Department's bomb squad and a "Clandestine Lab Team"- officers highly trained in dealing with hazardous chemicals- responded to the scene along with other officers, fire and EMS crews.

Once they got the man out of the car and did not find any chemicals inside the vehicle, he was taken to Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan for treatment. Officials say he was suffering medical distress stemming from his diabetes.

Sources say police shut down two streets and evacuated several nearby homes during the incident, which neighbors say lasted several hours.

"In our world, you never know what's going to happen or what people are capable of so these first responders who put their lives on the line have to take every precaution they can to protect themselves and the citizens who live nearby and that's what they did," said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.