A small town in Idaho shut down the city water supply after a fired municipal worker was found dead, the Idaho Statesman reported Friday.
Dietrich Mayor Don Heiken warned residents after the body of Tom Young, the former water manager, was found on Thursday. His death has been ruled suicide through asphyxiation.
Seven first responders and one civilian were sickened by a gas, later identified as nitrogen, released from a canister inside Young’s home.
Lincoln County Sheriff Rene Rodriguez and Shoshone Police Chief Austin Smith were among the first responders treated.
“All eight of us have been released from the hospital and we’re home recovering,” Sheriff Rodriguez updated.
The Boise Fire Special Operations Hazmat Team was dispatched to assist in decontamination.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says the first results found no contamination, with additional test results expected to be released on Saturday.
“Any time there’s any suspicions of that [water contamination], we’d rather be wrong 100 times than right once,” explained Michael Brown, the Twin Falls regional engineering manager for Idaho DEQ. “We don’t think there’s an issue, but we’re awaiting a confirmation … It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Young was scheduled to appear in court on charges of robbery, battery and intentional destruction of property the same day his body was found.
He had been fired by the town of Dietrich earlier in the month following an argument.
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