ROSEMONT, Ill. (PIX11) – Police say the chlorine gas that sickened more than a dozen and sent Midwest Fur Fest attendees in plush animal costumes running out of a suburban Chicago hotel Sunday was deliberately leaked.
Around 1 a.m. Sunday, guests at the O’Hare Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosemont reported a strong chemical smell on the 8th and 9th floors.
The fumes forced thousands to evacuate, including a large number of fully-costumed furries staying at the hotel for the annual Midwest FurFest. Nineteen were taken to an area hospital.
Firefighters traced the source of the leak to a container that appeared to be intentionally broken in the stairwell of the 9th floor, according to WGN. The container was filled with powdered chlorine, according to the Rosemont Police Department, and a criminal investigation has been opened.
The furrie convention, which, according to its website, says the thousands of fans who attend “come together to celebrate furry fandom, that is, art, literature, and performance based around anthropomorphic animals.”
Monday’s Midwest FurFest activities will continue as planned, according to the site.