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Bear spray sends four people to Park City Hospital

Emergency crews at Coalville Best Western.jpg
Emergency crews respond to a hazardous material call at the Best Western hotel in Coalville, UT, on Saturday, June 11, 2022

An accidental discharge of bear spray at the Best Western Hotel in Coalville sent four people to the Park City Hospital Saturday afternoon.

North Summit Fire Chief Ben Nielson said the four patients suffered minor injuries after the spray discharged in a guest’s room at the Best Western, which is right at the Coalville exit off of Interstate 80.

Nielsen said it wasn’t clear how the spray was discharged. About 40-50 people in the hotel were evacuated. Many of them sat in grassy areas around the parking lot while firefighters and hazardous material crews assessed the situation.

Nielson said the initial call was for a mass casualty incident involving 40 people, which was soon lowered to 24, and Park City Fire District crews were called in to assist. An Intermountain Healthcare spokesperson confirmed four people were being treated at the Park City Hospital Saturday afternoon.

According to the National Park Service, bear spray is a non-lethal deterrent people can use to stop aggressive behavior in bears. When sprayed, it can temporarily reduce a bear’s ability to smell, see and breathe, giving the person time to get away from the animal.

Nielson said if people get bear spray on themselves, they should wipe it off immediately, and seek a doctor’s care if they have any problems breathing after being exposed to bear spray.