Pepper spray broken in University hospital

A safety precaution became a safety hazard Friday when a womanâÄôs pepper spray canister flooded the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview entrance with its irritant. According to a police report, Lynn Hawkins damaged the pepper sprayâÄôs cap when she pulled her keys from her purse, and the canister started shooting its contents into the room. After HawkinsâÄô niece tried to fix the cap and failed, the two threw the pepper spray, which irritates eyes and causes coughing, into a hospital garbage and left, according to the report. Minneapolis firefighters arrived on scene and disposed of the canister, ventilated the room and helped affected hospital-goers, according to the report. University Police Lt. Troy Buhta said the spray could have been a serious issue if it had gotten into the ventilation system. Buhta said the best way to get rid of a broken pepper spray canister is to put the canister in a plastic bag and tie the top to stop the spray from spreading.