Bear spray prompts Park City Marriott evacuation |

Bear spray prompts Park City Marriott evacuation

Firefighters don hazmat suits at the entrance of the Park City Marriott Wednesday afternoon. The firefighters were responding to reports of a chemical odor inside the hotel.
James Hoyt/The Park Record |

A bear spray release triggered an evacuation of the Park City Marriott at 1895 Sidewinder Drive Wednesday evening, according to the Park City Fire District.

The Fire District’s hazardous materials unit responded to the scene after dispatchers received a report just before 4 p.m. of a chemical odor so offensive people could not enter the room it originated from, the hotel’s cleaning room, said Tricia Hurd Hazelrigg, a Fire District spokesperson.

On the scene, the hazmat unit investigated a red can, which was reported to have been involved in the incident, according to a press release issued Wednesday evening. The can turned out to be bear spray, and residue found at the scene indicated the chemical had been released.

Emergency services cordoned off the hotel and surrounding streets to give responders room to work.

No significant injuries were reported. EMS evaluated two people for “mild respiratory irritation” who were then released, according to the statement.

Bear spray causes a similar reaction in humans to that of pepper spray.

Natasha Levitt, a guest at the hotel, said she was sitting in the lobby when hotel staff told her she “might want to leave” the building. She saw people running by coughing and covering their mouths.
City buses were parked in back of the hotel for guests to warm up in as the investigation took place.

The Summit County Health Department and Park City Municipal completed a sweep of the area. By 6 p.m., the hotel was cleared and guests were allowed back inside, said Luis Olivas, general manager.

The Park City Marriott is serving as the headquarters of the Sundance Film Festival, which is set to begin Jan. 18.

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