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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


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.


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


Police found hot plates and various chemicals scattered around the

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


Porras said.

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


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.


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.