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Man Goes On Bizarre Fire Extinguisher Rampage Inside Atlantic City Building

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Atlantic City fire extinguisher attack. (credit: Atlantic City Police Department)

Atlantic City fire extinguisher attack. (credit: Atlantic City Police Department)

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Nine people were injured after a man went on a bizarre rampage that involved discharging a fire extinguisher inside the Public Safety Building in Atlantic City Tuesday morning.

Thomas M. McHugh, 29, is facing numerous charges for his alleged actions inside the building at about 8:10 a.m. Tuesday.

According to investigators, police confronted McHugh on the 4th floor of the building, which is where the fire and police department’s administration offices are located. The floor is restricted to authorized personnel.

Investigators say McHugh made several incoherent statements and then abruptly grabbed a fire extinguisher, which was mounted on the wall next to him and sprayed the officers with the extinguisher.

During the rampage, investigators say three officers were sprayed in the face with the fire extinguisher.

McHugh was eventually taken into custody after a struggle. He was transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for treatment that included a psychiatric evaluation.

A total of nine people – six officers and three civilian employees – were transported to area hospitals for treatment of exposure to the white powder discharged from the extinguisher.

Investigators say McHugh was arrested twice on Monday for disorderly conduct. The first arrest happened at about 6:12 p.m. when police say he was chasing and scaring kids on North Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City. He was released at about 9 p.m.

The second arrest happened at about 11:13 p.m. after police say McHugh stole several items from a convenience store located on Albany Avenue. He was released from his second arrest at about 8:00 a.m., only 10 minutes before the fire extinguisher rampage.

McHugh, of Drexel Hill, Pa., has been charged with Aggravated Assault on Police (3 counts), Resisting Arrest, Possession of a destructive device, Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief.

He is being held on $100,000 bail.

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