"Intentional" chemical leak derails huge furry convention

If you've ever been near a furry convention -- or Comic Con, for that matter -- then you'll know you're the weirdo for not dressing up like a humanoid bear or cartoon character. The Internet always loves reminding furries they're the oddballs in the real world, but the furry hate went a step too far this weekend, when a furry convention near Chicago was interrupted by an "intentional" chemical leak.

The Midwest FurFest convention held at the Hyatt in Rosemont, IL -- which was attended by thousands of humans dressed as humanoid animals -- was forced to evacuate Sunday morning at 12:40am, when a foul odor was detected on the hotel’s ninth floor. The stench, later determined to be chlorine, was strong enough to send 19 people to the hospital after complaints of dizziness and sickness.

“It was like when you walk into a pool. It was pungent”, convention attendee Chris Delaney told the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, throngs of fully-grown men and women in animal costumes moved to a nearby convention center to continue their celebration of “furry fandom”.

Technicians found powdered chlorine in the hotel stairwell that, according to a police report, “suggests an intentional act”. Rosemont police continue to investigate the crime, and will now have to include ligers, unicorns, and bears as potential suspects.

Guests were ultimately allowed back inside the hotel by 4:20am after a series of tests confirmed it was safe, and as a statement reads, to continue “the fun, friendship, and good times of Midwest FurFest 2014” in all its super-weird, fluffy glory.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.