2 dead and others treated after contact with an unknown substance at a senior living facility

Two people are dead and several others were treated Wednesday after they were exposed to an unknown substance at a senior residential community in Syracuse, New York, authorities said.

Syracuse fire personnel responded to a 911 call about two people possibly dead at Brighton Towers at 10:30 a.m., Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said. First responders said that two people were dead on arrival and that another was transferred to a local hospital for an “altered mental state.”

The identities of the people who died have not been released. No other deaths were reported.

Brighton Towers Senior Living apartments in Syracuse, N.Y., on Wednesday.WSTM-NBC3

Three police officers who responded began feeling ill and were taken to SUNY Upstate Medical University for evaluation. A nurse who came into contact also began experiencing symptoms, Walsh said.

A firefighter and an EMS responder were also treated, he said.

The officers were starting to be discharged Wednesday, Walsh said.

The fire department’s hazmat team returned to evaluate the building for potential substance exposure. The team evacuated 18 units on the sixth floor of the Brighton Towers building.

People began feeling sick about 30 minutes after they were exposed to the substance, Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon told reporters.

A Haz-Mat Response Team vehicle on the scene at Brighton Towers Senior Living apartments on March 1, 2023.
A hazmat response team vehicle at Brighton Towers Senior Living apartments Wednesday afternoon.WSTM

Hazmat officials were still working to identify the substance. McMahon said overdoses of xylazine, an animal sedative, spiked in the city over the weekend.

“We had over 40 confirmed cases focused in centrally in the downtown area in the southwest section of city,” McMahon said. “It’s unknown whether any of these issues are related.”

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