An unidentified man was killed Friday afternoon in Seekonk after a poisonous gas filled his sealed vehicle that was parked in the lot behind the old Showcase Cinemas on Fall River Avenue. Fire Chief Alan Jack said authorities believe the death was a suicide.
The gas was hydrogen sulfide, commonly known as stink damp or sewer gas, Jack told the media during an 8 p.m. press conference. The chemical compound can kill somebody within a few breaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.
Jack said the gas is not difficult to make.
"Simply by dumping one chemical that was in a bucket into another bucket was sufficient to make a gas that was fatal very, very quickly," Jack said.
Two buckets were found at the scene.
The vehicle was discovered at about 2:30 p.m. by a 12-year-old and two 13-year-old boys who were riding their bikes in the lot. Correy Hammond, 12, told Attleboro-Seekonk Patch that there was a note on the vehicle stating the name of the gas and instructing readers to call 911 and not open the door.
"He looked pretty dead and he had goggles on," Correy said.
The boy described the man as a large white male in his older 30s. Jack said the vehicle had a Rhode Island registration.
Correy's friend called 911. Police soon arrived, and asked the boys some questions, making sure they did not touch the vehicle.
Jack said that any person who opened the vehicle "would be in serious jeopardy."
Authorities sealed off the area and carefully neutralized the gas, and removed the man from the vehicle. The windows of the car had been sealed with tape. The man's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office. The hazmat team will carefully dispose the chemicals, Jack said.
The operation was completed during the 7 p.m. hour.
Nobody in the area other than the man in the vehicle was injured or killed. Also, nobody had to be evacuated.
Regarding the cause of death, Jack said, "At this time, there is nothing to lead us to believe it was anything other than [suicide]."