1 dead, 1 hospitalized following incident at Augusta home, Hazmat crews called to investigate



The Augusta Fire Department Haz-mat team was called to an Augusta home Friday to investigate a suspicious odor after one person was found dead and another had to be hospitalized.

About 4:45 a.m., emergency medical workers were called to the home in the 500 block of Second Avenue, where Walton Peterson, 38, was found unresponsive by his grandmother, Drue Stokes, on her couch, according to a statement from the fire department.

Peterson was pronounced dead by Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose at 5:34 a.m. He lived next door and went to his grandmother’s home late Thursday to spend the night, according to a statement from Coroner Mark Bowen.

Boose noticed a “foul, musty chemical odor” in the home, and went next door to Peterson’s home to further investigate. About 10 minutes later, Boose found Stokes unconscious on the floor in the rear of her home and sweating profusely, according to the release.

She was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center for treatment. Her condition is currently unknown.

Coroner Mark Bowen said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta failed to return phone calls this morning regarding an autopsy. Due to the nature of the investigation, the coroner’s office chose to send the body to Newberry Pathology Associates in Newberry, S.C., for a faster response.

“With a situation like this, we need find out quick what’s going on,” he said.

The fire department and coroner’s office are being aided in the investigation by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and Augusta’s Code Enforcement Divison. The Richmond County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta have been notified of the incident.

After extensive testing, both residences were quarantined, the release said.

Mysterious death attributed to pre-existing condition, coroner says


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