Fumes Affect Workers at 911 Call Center

Fumes Affect Workers at 911 Call Center

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Gene Kennedy reportingThe very people we rely on to respond to emergencies had one of their own, when dangerous fumes overcame workers at a 9-1-1 call center.

Employees at the Valley Emergency Communications Center found themselves calling 9-1-1 just before midnight.

West Valley fire fighters were doing a double-take and making follow-up phone calls when they heard the emergency was at VECC. The emergency workers literally dialed their own dispatch system after workers were having trouble breathing.

Twenty to 30 people evacuated the building. At least five were treated with oxygen outside the call center.

Before the fumes were affecting the emergency workers, a custodian cleaning a bathroom at the call center said she was having breathing problems. The custodian thinks her cleaning solution caused the problem, but she uses it every day, so she's not sure why this time was different.

Nonetheless, West Valley and Unified Fire responded. Also, hazmat crews were brought out to test the air and try to figure out if different chemicals interacted and produced something dangerous. We're still looking for an answer to that.

Meanwhile, the whole incident raises this question, what happens when the people who respond to emergencies have an emergency of their own?

Capt. Kris Romijn/ West Valley Fire Dept.: "Very difficult. What they do is transfer into Salt Lake City's dispatch. That's correct, they did continue to work."

Fortunately everyone was treated and released at the scene. No one had to be taken to the hospital.

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