A Hot Pepper Was So Spicy, a Hazmat Team Had to Evacuate a Whole New York Building

A Hot Pepper Was So Spicy, a Hazmat Team Had to Evacuate a Whole New York Building

Now that's what we call hot.

By Drew DiSabatino

A lot of things in life have been labeled “the actual worst.” Waiting in line at the post office. Taking a swig of spoiled milk. Those pants that kind of look like a pair of zubaz but have that crotch that goes down to your knees and also sort of make you look like you need a diaper change.

But we’d like to suggest an addition to this hall of shame.

We think a strong case could be made that the new “actual worst” thing has to be any time one of your idiot neighbors microwaves a pepper and releases the equivalent of weapons-grade pepper spray all throughout your 150-person apartment building, causing everyone to evacuate onto the street while a HAZMAT team tries to investigate WTF is going on.

If it seems like we’re being a little specific, that’s because it’s exactly what happened earlier this week in Rochester, NY.

On Monday, HAZMAT crews and emergency responders were called to an apartment building in the area when residents complained of an unknown odor making it difficult to breathe. Firefighters determined the odor came from a pepper that a resident had been microwaving, which turned the pepper’s spicy chemical capsaicin (you know it well if you’ve ever cut peppers and then handled your contact lenses) into some sort of airborne weapon once it was unleashed from the microwave door. As a firefighter on the scene described it to Rochester's local news station WhamTV: “It seems whatever kind of pepper they were using, once it aerosolized, if you’ve ever gotten pepper in your eyes you know how hard it can be on your system.”

It also feels worth noting that the call to responders came through at 10:20AM. We’re not saying there is a right time to be reheating old peppers in a microwave, but TEN IN THE MORNING is definitely the wrong time.

Everyone knows just how annoying it is when someone in your building or dorm burns a meal and sets off the fire alarms, but when incompetent meal-prepping also causes your eyes to water, your throat to tighten and your breathing to constrict?

Yeah, the actual worst.  

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