Midwest FurFest 2014
Midwest FurFest 2014 was a convention that was held at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. from December 5th to December 7th, 2014. Total attendance was 4,571, including 1,132 participants in the fursuit parade and 186 staff members.
The change in dates from its traditional weekend before Thanksgiving (US) was due to scheduling conflicts with the hotel and lack of available rooms.
Guests of Honor
Through various fundraisers, including the Poker tournament ($2,610), 2 and Kage show ($2,633), Charity auction ($2,710), table donations ($3,197), and a donation from the convention itself ($20,000), approximately $31,445.93 was raised.
At 12:45 a.m. on the third day of the convention, December 7th, Midwest FurFest's primary hotel was forced to evacuate when somebody dropped a jar of powdered chlorine inside the building. First responders were called to investigate a noxious odor that was spreading across the ninth and eighth floor of the hotel, where a high level of chlorine powder was discovered in the air. The Rosemont Public Safety Department reported that the chemical was released from a smashed glass container containing powdered chlorine found in the 9th floor stairwell. Due to seasonably cool temperatures, the Hyatt and Rosemont Public Safety evacuated attendees, some in fursuits, to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Nineteen people were transported to nearby hospitals after complaining of nausea, dizziness and other medical problems. None were hospitalized and all were released. HAZMAT technicians decontaminated the area and after conducting several tests deemed the area safe within about two hours. People were allowed back into the building around 4:20 a.m.
A television news stringer arrived at the scene during the event and recorded footage of the evacuation in progress, which became the footage used in news reports around the world. News coverage of the evacuation began almost immediately, with two of Chicago's 24-hour news radio stations (WGN-AM and WBBM-AM) mentioning it on the air within minutes of the evacuation beginning, initially as traffic alerts (due to the road closures caused by the emergency response) but quickly moved it into news segments as additional information regarding the scope of the evacuation reached their newsrooms. The incident was a lead story that morning during newscasts on almost all of the Chicago television stations, with WMAQ (NBC 5) and WLS (ABC 7) sending crews to the hotel for live reports. The incident also featured on an episode of MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Normal convention operations and events continued on schedule, with the convention staff releasing an official statement about the incident and evacuation later on the day.
Vice News followed up with the incident in an article on February 12th, 2016. An incident report filed by the Rosemont Police Department shows the case was logged into the system on December 8, 2014, assigned to a detective on December 29 of that year, and closed on July 29, 2015. Detectives from the Rosemont Police Department declined to comment directly on the case, but reports they provided to VICE show that in the days following the incident, officers interviewed at least 30 hotel guests, more than 19 hotel employees, and a number of hospital workers, taxi drivers, and staff employed at local pool and hardware supply stores that sell chlorine. While officers investigated the whereabouts of several individuals, it's unclear how many were considered suspects and during what time.
A television station in nearby Milwaukee covering the incident a day later on December 8th
- "Thanks also to everyone..." post on the Midwest FurFest's Twitter. Dated November 24, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Topic: Midwest FurFest Announces Date Change! December 5-7, 2014 post on the Midwest FurFest website. Dated January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- December 7, 2014 - Perro, Fur Affinity (December 10, 2014)
- "Our Guests of Honor for #MWFF 2014 will be..." tweet on the Midwest FurFest account's Twitter. Dated November 24, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Video on Youtube. Published December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- Local charity receives donation - Freeport Journal Standard (December 14, 2014)
- "Pirates are so last year." comment on the Midwest FurFest's Twitter. Dated March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- "Our theme for #MWFF 2014 will be BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY." post on the Midwest FurFest's Twitter. Dated November 24, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Award Winners 2014 on the Ursa Major Awards website. Dated May 1, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
- "We’ve been asked to evacuate the Hyatt..." post on the Midwest FurFest's Twitter. Dated December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- Furfest Evacuated After Chlorine Leak At Hyatt Hotel news segment from ABC 7 Eyewitness News Chicago. Aired December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- 19 hospitalized, thousands evacuated in 'intentional' gas leak at Rosemont hotel article on the Chicago Tribune website. Dated December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- Chemical leak at Hyatt Regency deemed intentional article from the Chicago Sun Times. Dated December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- Did someone try to POISON a furry convention? Chlorine gas sickens 19 as police reveal leak may have intentionally targeted cosplayers article on the Daily Mail Online. Dated December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- At Hyatt-Regency, Rosemont: Glass Jar with White Substance, Strong Chlorine Smell Causes Firefighter, EMS Hazmat Response, Evacuation article from The Cardinal. Dated December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- Statement On Sunday Morning's Evacuation page on Midwest FurFest 2014's website. Dated December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention' page on Vice's web site. Dated February 12 2016. Retrieved February 16 2017.
- All news coverages about the attack at MFF 2014 via Google News
- Photos, videos, reports: Midwest FurFest 2014 resources
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