Authorities are still investigating how a teenage boy obtained a hazardous material that prompted the shutdown of a major South Bay emergency room last week and ended up claiming the teen's life.
George Herrera, 18, was found unconscious in his home on Yucca Drive in San Jose Thursday morning. When he was transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, authorities, not knowing what the contaminant was that he had been exposed to, closed the medical center's emergency room for hours.
Investigators later determined the toxic material was hydrogen sulfide, and that no one at the emergency room had been contaminated. Herrera, however, died at the hospital Friday afternoon.
Few details have been released about why and how the teen obtained the hydrogen sulfide, and fire officials said today that much about the case remains a mystery.
Two pans containing the hydrogen sulfide, in this case a blue liquid, were found on a table in Herrera's bedroom. The color of the liquid and papers in the room, which indicated the teen had the chemical shipped to him, helped investigators identify the substance for what it was, fire Capt. Steve Alvarado said. A chemist confirmed the liquid was hydrogen sulfide.
San Jose police classified the incident as a possible suicide, Officer Enrique Garcia said Friday. The medical examiner's office said the official cause of death is pending toxicology tests.
Herrera's mother had called 911 around 8:45 a.m. Thursday after she found her son unconscious in their home at 3097 Yucca Ave. Responding firefighters and police complained of respiratory problems and reported a sulfur smell in the home.
Herrera, his mother, two firefighters and four police officers who had been exposed were taken to Valley Medical Center. Hospital officials had the emergency room under quarantine until about 3 p.m. that day.