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St. Petersburg man nearly kills himself cleaning toilet

ST. PETERSBURG — The quest for a gleaming toilet and a lack of knowledge of chemistry led a 44-year-old man to accidentally create a deadly bathroom cleaner early Thursday morning.

The result: a hazardous materials team was called to clear Michael Newton's house before he was taken to Bayfront Medical Center complaining of shortness of breath and irritation to his lungs and eyes from the chlorine gas cloud he created.

Exposure to the gas — which has been used as a weapon of mass destruction — can cause severe illness or death.

Newton, of 4301 Tuna Drive SE, combined bleach and an ammonia-based product to "make a stronger bathroom cleaner," St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Granata said.

He was overcome moments after spraying the solution and called 911. He was waiting outside when numerous fire and hazardous materials crews arrived around 6 a.m.

Firefighters ventilated the house and scrubbed his walls to alleviate the strong stench of cleaning solutions, according to St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.

St. Petersburg man nearly kills himself cleaning toilet 07/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:37pm]

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