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Two Firefighters Injured By Apartment Building Odor

Chicago Tribune via Yellowbrix

February 15, 2011

ELGIN, IL – Two Elgin firefighters and a police officer were taken to area hospitals Monday night after each became ill at the scene of a hazardous materials call at an apartment building.

Emergency crews were called to investigate the hazmat call at a six-flat apartment building on the 1100 block of Birch Drive at about 5:20 p.m., officials said.

The caller reported a strange smell that caused watery eyes and left a “metallic taste,” according to Elgin spokeswoman Susan Olafson. Arriving crews quickly ruled out natural gas as the cause, but remained on the scene to find the cause.

Eventually, the odor dissipated on its own and no injuries were initially reported, until two firefighters and a police officer became ill and were taken to Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Olafson said.

One firefighter and the police officer complained of chest pains, while the second firefighter developed high blood pressure symptoms. Twelve residents also were taken to area hospitals with nausea and throat irritation.

Fire officials told the building owner he must contact an air-quality remediation company to determine the cause of the odor before anyone would be allowed back in, Olafson said.

The source of the odor has yet to be determined.


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