Massachusetts state officials are investigating a possible hazardous chemical incident after a school custodian was found dead on campus and nearly a dozen public safety officers were sent to the hospital Monday morning.
Officials discovered the body of 53-year-old Chester Flattery, a custodian at Manomet Elementary School in Plymouth, Mass., on Monday morning around 8 a.m.
State troopers, firefighters and local police were among those responding to the scene to investigate when they complained of throat and eye irritation.
Ten first responders and a school employee were taken to a local hospital to be evaluated for possible chemical exposure while officials evacuated the school, which is located about an hour south of Boston, the district attorney’s office said. Most were treated and released by Monday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.
A hazardous materials team responded and is investigating the incident and working to identify the chemical. It is not clear whether Flattery died from effects of the same chemical that may have sent the others to the hospital.
School officials have closed the building where Flattery was found, and officials will conduct an autopsy to determine what killed him, the district attorney’s office said.
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3:14 p.m.: This post has been updated with more information from officials, the identity of the body and the investigation into the possible chemical agent. Officials also revised the number of people transported to the hospital from 10 to 11.