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‘Nerve agent’ hoax mobilizes area emergency services

October 19, 2012
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT - Journal Ishpeming Bureau ( , The Mining Journal

ISHPEMING - The Marquette County Sheriff's Office is investigating a suspicious situation that involved a report made Thursday evening that a person was being brought to Bell Hospital who had been exposed to a possible World War II nerve agent.

Police said a woman made a call at about 7:45 p.m. to the Upper Peninsula Poison Control Center in Marquette that she was bringing a 23-year-old male to Bell who may have been exposed to the nerve agent.

However, Capt. David Lemire said the male may have been exposed and ingested fumes emitted from a methamphetamine lab days earlier.

Article Photos

Bell Hospital in Ishpeming initiated emergency procedures Thursday night after a report, which turned out to be bogus, that a teenager had been exposed to a World War II nerve agent. (Journal file photo)

Bell initiated lock-down procedures and prepared to conduct decontamination operations. According to the police report, MGH was notified as well and also initiated lock-down procedures.

Poison control provided the cell phone number of the female to Bell EMS staff, who contacted the female. She stated that the victim was dropped off at MGH. The victim was never brought to MGH, police said.

It was later found that for fear of being suspected of methamphetamine use, the woman called poison control on behalf of the male, using the nerve agent story to not raise suspicion of possible meth involvement, Lemire said.

"They just used poor judgment all around," Lemire said.

Contact was made with the victim who did not need medical attention, he said.

The investigation remains active pending review by the prosecutor's office.

Responding and assisting agencies included Bell EMS, Ishpeming City Fire and Police departments, Marquette County Sheriff's Rescue 131, Marquette City Police Department, Michigan State Police and Northern Michigan University Public Safety.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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