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One person overcome by fumes as bug-killing chemicals found in Watertown apartment

By Gordon Block


WATERTOWN — City fire and police crews were called Wednesday afternoon after bug-killing chemicals were found in a Franklin Street apartment building known as “The Burdick,” injuring one occupant and causing an evacuation of its residents.
Crews, including Jefferson County’s Hazardous Material unit, were called to 114 Franklin St. around 2:15 p.m. after a suspicious smell was found on the building’s fourth floor.
Watertown Fire Battalion Chief David M. Lachenauer said four pesticides, Kill Bed Bugs II, Ortho Home Defense and two varieties of Hot Shot, were found, along with diesel fuel.
The occupant of the residence received treatment from Guilfoyle Ambulance after being overcome by fumes, he said. The occupant was taken to Samaritan Medical Center.
The substances found in the apartment were considered flammable.
“It could’ve been risky,” said city Fire Chief Dale C. Herman. “There was potential for fire.”
He said the apartment where the smell was found was being ventilated, and that furniture that came in contact with the substances may need to be removed.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said the smell in the building was potent from her residence.
“It smelled like something was dying,” she said. “It was a lingering smell.”
Lucinda J. Galloway, standing outside the building with her shivering miniature Doberman Zeke, said she was lying down in her third-floor residence when a firefighter knocked on her door and told her to evacuate.
“I said ‘Something’s not right somewhere,’” she said.
Neighbors of Watertown, which operates the apartment building, opened the doors to one of its community rooms to evacuated residents to get out of the cold.
The state Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation also aided at the scene.

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