EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — There was a nearly fatal situation for an Excelsior Springs police officer after dealing with dangerous chemicals.
The department says someone dropped off glass bottles of hazardous chemicals in the “drug take-back bin” that the employee was collecting.
He’s okay, but the department has shut down the program.
In his more than 15 years of experience, Investigative Specialist Andy Warner says his brush with these chemicals last week is the most dangerous encounter he’s had in his law enforcement career.
“That’s the first thing the toxicologist said. She said, ‘Well, at least you’re not dead,’ ” Warner said.
Warner was doing his regular duties, clearing out the drug take-back bin, but in a matter of seconds, his health worsened at a rapid rate.
“I quickly started smelling a strong metallic smell and began sweating profusely. This isn’t normal, what’s happening,” he said.
He rushed down to the boy’s locker room at the Excelsior Springs Police Department. That’s where he began throwing up.
What he soon found out is that he had just inhaled mercury, cyanide and arsenic.
If not treated immediately, those chemicals can kill you. Chemicals Poison Control told him they hadn’t seen those chemicals encountered in nearly 50 years.
“What scares me is that, yeah, I have a family, and so decisions people make can have impacts on innocent people they don’t know,” Warner said.
There were nearly 50 bottles of different toxic chemicals that had been dropped in the bin. That bin is now closed for the foreseeable future.
“This is a substance that quite frankly should have never been placed in that bin. It’s for old prescription medications. It’s not made for getting rid of old hazardous chemicals or household solvents or anything like that. It’s for prescription that were intended for human use,” Chief Gregory Dull of the Excelsior Springs Police Department said.
The police department says it was dropped off by someone at the Excelsior Springs Museum. FOX4 did reach out to the museum, but we’re still waiting to hear back.
The chief stresses anyone with questions on what you can bring to these drug take-back bins should call officials at the location before you go and bring something back.