Local Hotel Reopened After Evacuation

By: Rachel Cox and Kristin Gordon Email
By: Rachel Cox and Kristin Gordon Email
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KILLEEN (May 3, 2013)—A Killeen hotel reopened and guests returned to their rooms early Friday morning after the discovery of a suspicious substance Thursday night forced an evacuation.

Killeen officials evacuated the High Five Inn, on South W.S. Young Drive and a nearby commercial building just before 7 p.m. Thursday after firefighters discovered a suspicious substance while investigating a smoke call.

An Emergency Ordnance Disposal team from Fort Hood was sent to the hotel late Thursday evening and remained on scene early Friday morning.

Killeen Fire Chief J.D. Gardner reported shortly before 1 a.m. Friday that the Fort Hood EOD team determined the substance was not any type of explosive, but that since the substance could not be immediately identified, the scene at the hotel was being classified as hazardous.

A sample of the substance was collected and will be sent to a lab to be identified, a process Gardner said could take several days.

Gardner said the substance was being removed and placed into secure drums to be taken for disposal by a private company.

The Killeen Community Center was opened for people forced to evacuate the High Five Inn.

A fire alarm went off at the hotel just after 6 p.m. Thursday, but managers found no evidence of a fire, but after it sounded a second time, the fire department was called.

When firefighters arrived, unusual-looking smoke was coming out of one of the rooms.

A Hazmat team was requested as well as Fort Hood’s explosives unit and the hotel and a commercial building next door were evacuated.

Officials said the smoke detector had been removed from the room.

A man in his late 20s had been staying in the room, which was paid for by a third party, managers said.

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