A Janesville hotel guest’s culinary flair with a hot pepper left others at the hotel with teary eyes and burning throats and prompted a temporary evacuation, authorities said.
Janesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Ryan Murphy said authorities believe hotel guests were sickened after a man who was staying at the AmericInn, 3900 Milton Ave. microwaved a hot pepper.
“The gentleman in the room was warming up a hot or spicy pepper and I guess it got away from him,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the fire department still was gathering details, but the hotel was temporarily evacuated Thursday afternoon after several people near the man’s room complained their throats and eyes had an irritated, burning sensation.
A fire crew at the hotel put on breathing masks, Murphy said, because “their eyes were irritated, too.” Murphy said the fire crew discovered a microwaved pepper in the man’s room. Murphy said the man indicated he heated it up, and when he did, the pepper apparently emitted some of its peppery essence into the air in the hotel.
Fire department air testing equipment showed the air quality in the hotel was within normal limits. Murphy said he hadn’t yet learned what variety of pepper the man had heated up and that the fire department has no equipment that measures Scoville units—a scale used to determine the relative “hotness” of peppers.
“Somebody asked if we have one of those (Scoville meters). We don’t have one of those,” Murphy said.
Medics on scene checked out one person at the hotel who complained of eye and throat irritation, but no one had to be transported to a hospital, Murphy said.
The hotel resumed normal business Thursday afternoon after firefighters ventilated the building.