An Allentown Fire Department hazardous materials crew as well as the department’s bomb squad were brought in Sunday night after a man was found dead in a home in Allentown, authorities report.
When city police responded to the death call from a roommate in the 1600 block of East Cedar Street, they found numerous packages labeled hazardous and poisonous, fire department Capt. John Christopher told lehighvalleylive.com.
The fire department determined the materials were for growing exotic plants, Christopher said. It was safe for the death investigation to continue once that determination was made, Christopher said.
A Lehigh County deputy coroner pronounced Benjamin Boehm dead at 1:30 a.m. Monday in his home, the coroner’s office said.
After an autopsy on Monday, the cause and manner of Boehm’s death are pending further forensic testing, Coroner Eric Minnich said Monday.
The death is not suspicious, but when asked if the chemicals found on site contributed to the death, Minnich said he “cannot speak to plants or anything further until we get complete autopsy results.”
The death is being investigated by city police, the coroner’s office and the fire department.
“This turned out to be nothing more than an EMS assist/unattended death,” Allentown police Capt. John Hill said in an email, echoing the coroner’s statement that nothing seems suspicious but a final decision must await toxicology results.
“… The extra equipment that was called in was due to concerns over environmental issues within the house. Once AFD deemed the area (and air) safe, the scene was processed.”
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Tony Rhodin can be reached at [email protected].
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