BERKELEY -- Hotel guests and residents of the Berkeley City Club were evacuated from the historic building Tuesday afternoon after a woman used a toxic chemical in her room to commit suicide, authorities said.

Police spokesman Officer Ethell Wilson said hazardous materials crews and bomb squad technicians responded to the call on the third floor of the six-story landmark shortly before 2 p.m. The victim reportedly left a suicide note outside her apartment alerting first responders to the hazardous situation, police said.

The name of the victim, a woman in her 80s, was not released. Wilson did not know how many people were evacuated, but there were no reports of injuries Tuesday evening.

Police closed Durant Avenue between Telegraph and Shattuck avenues for several hours while crews investigated. It was not immediately known if the toxic substance -- sodium azide -- had contaminated the entire building or the one unit.

Check back for updates.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.



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