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EYE ON HEALTH

Dangerous levels of drug residue found inside home of nurse found dead on sidewalk

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

City code inspectors have condemned a brand new home, after a male nurse was found dead outside and dangerous levels of drug residue were found inside. Hazmat crews were called to the home, just blocks from an elementary school, when police on the scene found evidence of the drug Fentanyl, a pain medication more powerful than morphine.

A construction worker called 911 when he noticed Matthew Stiles on the sidewalk in front of his home. He had already passed when police arrived. It didn't take officers long to learn he and another woman may have been exposed to high levels of the drug fentanyl.

Neighbors, who knew the ER nurse, say Stiles' death comes as a shock.

Across the street from St. Nicholas Elementary School, hangs a red sign on a Will Kelley Road home. It's a reminder to neighbors of what happened there on April 9th.

“You hear the ambulance coming down the street and you’re curious and concerned about your neighbors,” says Bob Kienel.

Bob Kienel was doing yard work when an ambulance flew by him.

“It seemed like they got half of Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga down there," Kienel says. "It seemed like they were down there probably a good six hours.”

Chattanooga police arrived to find 28-year-old Matthew Stiles lying on the sidewalk unresponsive and showing signs of drug exposure. His wife was disoriented and confused about how long he'd been there. 

“When you’re young you tend to think you're bullet proof and you can do some of this stuff,” says Kienel.

According to 911 call logs, a hazmat team was dispatched to collect evidence and decontaminate the scene of fentanyl, a synthetic byproduct of meth. 

“Between 400 to 6,000 times more potent than 100% pure heroin,” says David Bayshore, a certified indoor environmentalist.

The home, built last year, is now condemned because of what hazmat crews found. “Keeping the property opened and aired so when you get in it’s dissipated to a point there isn't that much clean up.”

Bayshore says this type of drug can spread through the air or by contact. Simply breathing it in or touching it can be dangerous or even fatal.

“If somebody comes into the house and their arm would brush against the wall or leaning on a surface, they are absorbing these chemicals through the blood, and can have effects,” says Bayshore.

For neighbors news of Stiles death is difficult to understand. He worked as an emergency room nurse at Memorial Hospital.

“In any neighborhood, I think it would be shocking. This is especially quite, family neighborhood. We're all shocked,” says Kienel.

A spokesperson for Memorial Hospital says the drugs found in Stiles' home did not come from the hospital he worked in. An audit was taken following Stiles' death and no drugs were missing.

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