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Historic Berkeley, Calif., hotel evacuated after resident uses toxic substance to kill herself

A historic San Francisco Bay Area hotel and social club has been evacuated after a resident used a toxic chemical to commit suicide in her room.

Police spokesman Ethell Wilson says the 80-year-old woman used sodium azide to kill herself Tuesday in her apartment on the third floor of the landmark Berkeley City Club.

The Oakland Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1lMST7G ) that the woman left a note warning authorities of the dangerous situation, and hazardous materials crews and bomb squad technicians responded just before 2 p.m.

Other residents and guests were evacuated, but Wilson says there are no reports of injuries.

A person who answered the phone at the hotel hung up when a reporter called for comment.

Sodium azide is commonly found in cars' air bags to make them inflate. It becomes a toxic gas when mixed with water.

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Information from: The Oakland Tribune, http://www.oaklandtribune.com

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