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Hotel rooms evacuated

Gretchen Hoffman

GLENDALE -- About 20 hotel rooms were evacuated after Glendale Police

found hazardous materials bubbling on a hot plate in one of them.

The woman living in the room was in temporary quarters following a

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fire that gutted her condominium -- a fire in which chemicals might also

have played a role, police said.

Hoja Song, 61, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to treating and handling

hazardous waste that poses a risk of fire or explosion.

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A manager called police at about 11 a.m. Tuesday after a woman living

at Days Inn, 450 Pioneer Drive, refused to let a maid come in to clean

the room, Sgt. Kirk Palmer said.

A chemical odor was coming from the room, according to a police

report, and employees were afraid someone was operating a drug lab in the

hotel.

Police found hot plates and various chemicals scattered around the

room. “There were things actually cooking in beakers,” Officer Miguel

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Porras said.

About 20 rooms were evacuated from 11 a.m. Tuesday to 12:30 a.m.

Wednesday.

Los Angeles County health inspectors and a Glendale hazardous

materials unit determined that the chemicals were not being used to

manufacture drugs but were hazardous waste.

Song had been living in the hotel since a fire demolished her

condominium in the 500 block of West Stocker Street on April 5.

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Investigators believe chemicals found in the condo may have

contributed to the fire, which caused $500,000 in damage to her condo and

two below it.

Glendale Fire officials advised her at the time that she could not

continue using the chemicals in a residential area without a permit. It

is illegal to use them at the hotel.

Song is set to return to court June 11 for a preliminary hearing.


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