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Police, First Responders Warned About Dangers of 'Detergent Suicides'

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

August 03, 2010

NEW YORK – Police across the city have been warned that “detergent suicides” – which use household cleaners to create poisonous gas – can also kill cops and other first responders, the Daily News has learned.

A recent internal order says people who kill themselves in this way often post warning signs, such as “Hydrogen Sulfide Suicide,” so relatives and cops know to take precautions before entering the area.

Without a warning, entering the scene could have deadly results for an unsuspecting officer.

The deadly concoction produces hydrogen sulfide, a colorless flammable compound that smells like rotten eggs. It paralyzes the nervous system and kills in only a few breaths.

The lethal brew also caught the eye of the NYPD’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Team, sources said. The team determined the chemical technique could be used as a weapon to kill officers and other emergency personnel in a confined area, such as a subway car.

The NYPD said there’s been one detergent suicide in the city. In February, Tyler Ramaker, 24, of Queens, killed himself in his bathtub.

His father, who had not heard from his son in a week, went to his home and found the bathroom sealed with plastic and posted with warning signs. He took the warnings seriously and called cops, preventing anyone else from being harmed.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention asks anyone needing help to call its suicide prevention lifeline at (800) 273-TALK.