After Inhaling Hot Sauce Fumes, Three People Are Hospitalized

It all started out as an innocent prank at a Chicago-area high school.

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It all started out as an innocent joke. Now a Chicago-area high school student is facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly dumping a particularly scorching hot sauce into the school cafeteria’s marinara sauce.

Three kitchen workers at Highland Park High School were sent to the hospital with symptoms of coughing, wheezing and skin rashes, according to a report by ABC News. Police said the workers did not ingest the sauce; rather they suffered a reaction by simply being near it, which begs the question: What sort of hot sauce could be so potent that just its fumes send people to the hospital?

(More: Is your refrigerator running?  Wisconsin legislator attempts to make prank calls illegal.)

“I don’t think you can find this one in the store,” Highland Park police Deputy Chief George Pfutzenreuter told the Chicago Tribune of the Da’ Bomb brand hot sauce that was allegedly poured into the tomato sauce. According to the hot sauce maker’s website, the sauces range in intensity from a fiery 119,00 Scoville units to a scorching 1.5 million units, a heat level on par with pepper spray.

Da’ Bomb claims that after one taste of its hot sauce, “Suddenly the world explodes in blinding flashes of heat all around you. You’re terrified. You want to hide, but there’s nowhere to go,” which may sound like a bit of an overstatement, but then this soldier’s reaction to the hot sauce, uploaded to YouTube, pretty much matches  the company’s description word for word:


Investigators are still trying to determine which of Da’ Bomb brand’s sauces made it into the marinara sauce. In the meantime, ABC News reports that the school will install security cameras in the cafeteria to ward off future pranksters, or at least capture their mischief on tape.

(More: WikiLeaks creates elaborate New York Times hoax, fooling readers.)