Midwest Furfest 2014 has published the following statement regarding the occurrences of December 7th (quoted in pertinent part): “At around 12:45 AM on Sunday, December 7, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare received a complaint of a chemical odor on the ninth floor. Following a 9-1-1 call, first responders determined that a container with a chlorine-containing chemical was broken there. At 1:10 AM the entire hotel was evacuated, first across Bryn Mawr Ave. in front of the Hyatt as per Rosemont Fire Department’s standard procedures, then when it became apparent that the wait would take longer the Stephens Convention Center was opened to provide warmth and shelter to our guests. A full HazMat response was called in at that time. In the course of investigating the scene, the Rosemont Police Department determined that this was a criminal act and began investigating it as such. This delayed allowing our guests back into the hotel. Midwest FurFest is deeply thankful for the cooperation and patience shown during this time, and please know that everyone was working to get you back into the hotel as quickly as possible. At 4:21 AM the all-clear was given and we worked with the Hyatt staff to return all of our guests to the hotel in the quickest and safest manner possible. Rosemont Public Safety has reported that nineteen people who complained of nausea and dizziness were transported to local hospitals. Because they were transported after the hotel (including Hyatt staff) was evacuated, we do not have any identification of these individuals. We have been informed by the Hyatt Regency O’Hare that some of those individuals have been released as of this morning. (published on http://www.furfest.org/Evacuation_Statement) Outside of initial first responders and assisting in the evacuation of our attendees and staff, Midwest Furfest relinquished complete control of the onsite emergency response and the subsequent criminal investigation. Midwest Furfest is forever grateful to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare for its amazing response and support throughout these trying times. In turn, we must thank the City of Rosemont and the brave emergency responders from throughout the surrounding community for their assistance. Our staff has assisted authorities in their inquiries to our fullest capabilities and we have encouraged our attendees to aid us in this process. At this point in time we are unable to comment further as this matter is a pending investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. However, it is noteworthy that during this time of crisis we were aided by many staff members from other furry conventions throughout the world and attendees whom volunteered their services to aid in the evacuation process. Midwest Furfest is tremendously grateful for their assistance and this only illustrates how supportive the furry community is towards helping one another. Though this unfortunate incident clearly impacted all of our attendees, Midwest Furfest was able to return to almost normal operations by Sunday morning. The furry community has been exceptionally supportive of our convention in the wake of this criminal act and our resilient staff and remarkably understanding and sympathetic attendees helped us finish the weekend on many positive notes: - Our charity, Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary, was able to raise $11,000 by charitable donations from our attendees and an additional $20,000 was donated from Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc., our parent 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Part of our core mission is to raise money for animal focused charities in the Midwest. - Our convention experienced our highest attendance to date, an estimated 4,600 attendees from around 15 different countries. - Midwest Furfest was able to provide almost 300 hours of attendee inspired programming. - We had 1,132 participants in our Fursuit Parade. Fursuits are animal themed costumes (loosely resembling mascot costumes) created by either the individual wearer or by commissioned artists/creators. As stated previously we are unable to comment further on the incident this weekend and defer any additional questions to local law enforcement. Please use the contact form at FurFest.org with any further questions . Thank you for your inquiry and understanding. Sincerely, Toby Murono 2014 Midwest Furfest Chairman.