June 04--YORK, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania State Police trooper who inhaled unknown toxic fumes while investigating a reported vehicle fire in Dauphin County was moved from intensive care Saturday morning and is in stable condition, a police spokesman said.
The 28-year-old trooper, whose name was not released, discovered a smoldering pile of items along Interstate 81 in East Hanover Township, Dauphin County, around 7 p.m. June 3, said Trooper Thomas Pinkerton.
No vehicles were in the area as the trooper approached the smoldering pile, Pinkerton said. The trooper felt some ill effects from the fumes but was able to return to his squad car and summon help.
The local fire department and an ambulance arrived and the trooper was transported to Hershey Medical Center initially in critical condition with apparent burns to his throat and lungs, Pinkerton said.
A state police Clandestine Laboratory Team and a Regional Laboratory chemist investigated the scene and concluded the items were not from illegal drug manufacturing, Pinkerton added.
Police have not determined the chemical content of the fumes.
Investigators said they learned that shortly before the trooper arrived on the scene, a dark or navy blue pickup, occupied by three white males and carrying white 5-gallon buckets in the bed, stopped on the roadside.
The men pulled smoldering items from the bed onto the highway and left the area.
The right lane of southbound I-81 was closed for approximately 4 1/2 hours by crime scene management.
The Troop H, Harrisburg Criminal Investigation Unit, is investigating the incident. Anyone with any information about the incident, the pickup or other vehicles in the area at the time is asked to call 717-671-7500.