Grizzly bear repellent to blame for Downtown residents getting sick, Madison Fire says

September 27, 2018

You normally wouldn’t find bear repellent causing people to get sick in Madison, but that’s what happened Tuesday night at a Downtown apartment building.

A resident returning home from a camping trip out West accidentally dropped the repellent in a hallway and it shot off a small amount, with the vapor lingering long enough for other residents to report sneezing, watery eyes and irritated throats.

It happened at about 8 p.m. at an apartment building in the 400 block of West Johnson Street, the Madison Fire Department said.

“Firefighters met with three women who said they came home about two hours earlier and noticed something peppery in the air,” said spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster.

The irritant was strongest in the hallway and toward the basement. Firefighters found the bottle of grizzly bear repellent in a storage locker in the basement.

“After ventilating the hallways and removing the bottle, firefighters located the owner of the repellent,” Schuster said. “He said he just returned from camping and when he got home he accidentally dropped the repellent.”

The bear repellent owner said he contacted property management but the other residents were caught up in the repellent spray before management could take care of the problem.

Update hourly