FALL RIVER — Two people have been hospitalized and three animals are dead in a case of mercury poisoning in a Fall River apartment building.

Fire officials say a man in the Hamlet Street building tried to melt down old dental fillings in his apartment on January 25, believing the fillings were made of silver. The fillings actually contained mercury.

Exposure to the toxic metal hospitalized the man three days later. Doctors did not know what was causing the man's illness until a 17-year-old girl at the apartment began suffering the same symptoms. She tested positive for mercury poisoning and was transported to Rhode Island Hospital.

Three pets in the building have died over the past week.

The building has been deemed uninhabitable. Every resident has been tested for mercury.

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