Hazmat team called to Augusta house after man found dead

Hazmat team called to Augusta house after man found dead
(Source: Augusta Fire Department)
(Source: Augusta Fire Department)

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - A Hazmat team with the Augusta Fire Department quarantined two houses on Second Avenue Friday morning after a man was found dead.

EMTs were called to 514 Second Avenue off Wheeler Road around 4:45 a.m., according to the Augusta Fire Department. A woman said she had found her grandson, 38-year-old Walton Peterson, unresponsive on her couch.

Peterson was pronounced dead at 5:03 a.m., Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose said. Peterson lived next door to his grandmother and was spending the night at her house.

During the investigation, Boose said he smelled a foul, musty chemical odor but wasn't sure what it was.

He and a deputy went next door to check Peterson's house, and when they returned the grandmother, 78-year-old Drue Stokes, had passed out on a floor in the back area of her house. She was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center for treatment.

Neighbor Essie Hobbes said she could always smell an odor, and now she's worried for her health.

"I would go out on the porch every evening when it would cool down, and, it's just...an odor was coming and I didn't know where it was coming from," she said.

Hobbes said this isn't the first tragedy that's hit the family.

"She lost three of her children in five years. She just buried her daughter in May," Hobbes said.

In fact, this isn't the first tragedy to hit Second Avenue either.

"Three people died within two months," Hobbes said.

Hobbes moved back to the area in 2009, and said since then, something has been off.

"After I came back over here and moved back into this house, I haven't been well since," she said.

The Hazmat team responded, and after investigating and testing, Peterson's house and Stokes' house were both quarantined. There are still  a lot of questions surrounding the quarantined houses, but for Hobbes, this is another tragedy for the area.

"It's just, it's a sad situation. It's just sad," Hobbes said.

Peterson's body was taken to Newberry for an autopsy.

The Augusta Fire Department, the coroner's office, Augusta Code Enforcement and Richmond County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident. The Richmond County Health Department and the state CDC in Atlanta were also notified.

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