Boston Responders Exposed to Cyanide


A woman died and several other people had to be decontaminated Tuesday after being exposed topotassium cyanide at her Brighton home.

Police were called to the Towne Estates Condominiums at 195 Lake Shore Road at about 2:40 p.m. A 72-year-old man returned home from work to that address and found his wife unconscious, police said.

She was later pronounced dead and a bottle of potassium cyanide was found nearby. Sources said the woman, identified as a researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, committed suicide and had access to the chemical.

Sources said she left a suicide note written in Russian.

"We are conducting an investigation relative to the circumstances around the death," Boston Police Superintendent Dan Linsky said. "There is no threat the general public."

Fourteen people -- including three police officers, four firefighters, five EMS workers and two residents -- were decontaminated at the scene and taken to St. Elizabeth's Medical Center.

"Nobody has shown any symptoms of any concern. We have one deceased victim, but other than that no one has been exhibiting any symptoms," Linsky said.

The emergency room at the hospital was put on Code Black status for a few hours to make sure the chemical was contained.

Police said it was the third cyanide-related death in Massachusetts in the past year. In September, a Northeastern University researcher took her own life by ingesting cyanide in her Milford home. In November, autopsy results showed a man took a lethal dose of cyanide after allegedly killing his wife in their Westborough home.

Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.