A chemical spill at the Holiday Inn Saturday sent five employees to the emergency room and caused police to evacuate the hotel.
A female maintenance worker spilled hydrochloric acid in the hotel's pool room. She inhaled some of the fumes, became sick and drove herself to The Memorial Hospital, according to Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Roy Mason.
"One woman went in a private vehicle," Mason said. "She was hurting bad enough she just took off."
Four other employees were transported by ambulance after they went to the pool room and smelled the acid.
"They went to see what was going on and they got a whiff," Mason said.
All five patients were treated and released, said Pam Thompson, TMH's community relations director.
The fire department was paged to a chemical spill at the Holiday Inn at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Mason said.
"When we got there the (police) had pretty much evacuated the building," Mason said. "They did a good job getting it cleared out."
The fire department sent a team into the building to look for any remaining guests. Mason said they found airline pilots in a back room of the hotel. None of the guests was injured.
According to Mason, the hotel was full to capacity. Many of the guests were in town for the weekend snowmobile races.
"They were afraid we were going to have to shut the hotel down," Mason said.
The spill was less severe than a pool chemical spill could be. It wasn't chlorine, which was good news, Mason said. "Chlorine gas is pretty nasty," Mason said.
The fire department handled the call without the hazardous materials team, although one haz-mat technician was on scene, Mason said.
Firefighters soaked up the acid with absorbent pads, which took care of 90 percent of the spill. Firefighters saturated the residue with water to dilute it and washed it down the drain, Mason said.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org