Spilled chemical prompts Rangers to evacuate hotel

Updated: October 21, 2005, 1:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers were forced to evacuate their Long Island hotel Thursday, just hours before their 5-4 loss to the rival New York Islanders, when a man wearing a surgical mask dumped a chemical on the floor and then drove away.

The 23-year-old man, former Garden City Hotel employee Scott Wallace, entered about 3 p.m., deliberately spilled the chemical on the floor of the rotunda area and then fled, Nassau County police said.

The chemical later was found to be harmless, and no one was injured.

Police hazardous-materials units and a mobile laboratory were sent to the hotel to test the chemical, which smelled strongly like ammonia. Hotel guests including the Rangers were temporarily forced out.

Wallace was arrested several hours later, police said in a news release issued Thursday night. The charges against him hadn't been determined, pending a consultation with the district attorney's office.

There was no telephone number listed for Wallace at the address provided by police.

The Rangers didn't want to blame their second loss to the Islanders in two nights on the chemical scare.

``It bothered a lot of people, but I wasn't affected by it,'' goalie Kevin Weekes said after the game. ``Players are used to a game day routine, and when it gets disrupted it can throw you off course a little bit, but you have to put things in perspective and give it the proper priority. Lives saved are what's most important here.''

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