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The bear bones: Bruin breaks into haz-mat container

Sep 18, 2015


  Aspen Valley Hospital officials have taken steps to better secure a container that stores hazardous materials after a bear broke into it and dragged body parts out. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason has the details.


A bear broke through an unsecured door on a haz-mat trailer parked next to the hospital a few weeks ago. The bruin sniffed out a hazardous materials storage bag containing bones from a cadaver that had been discarded after an orthopaedic training exercise. That’s according to AVH spokesperson Ginny Dyche.

The bones included a hip and knee. They were found near the trailer, leading hospital officials to believe the bruin lost interest because of the chemicals used to preserve the body parts. It’s unknown what else was in the bag. Dyche says the hospital accepts full responsibility.

“As you might imagine, you know this was very disconcerting to say the least  for everyone involved in this situation. We are in the business of treating people with respect and so this just doesn’t feel good on any level,” she says.

The break-in happened after a housekeeper didn’t ensure a loading dock door was closed. It connects to the trailer where the corpse was found. An operating system didn’t notify the housekeeper about the unclosed door because it was broken.

Dyche says that’s been fixed, locks were placed on the trailer and hospital workers were educated on how to properly dispose of hazardous material. Carolyn Sackariason, Aspen Public Radio News.