Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes
Sarah Dallof ReportingThe Bell Plaza building on 250 East and 200 South was evacuated earlier this afternoon due a chemical smell. The building has since been cleared of the chemical and reopened.
Today's evacuation occurred when people were complaining of a chemical smell that was irritating their nose, lungs and throat, and making them nauseous. At one point, the entire building had been evacuated.
Firefighters were concerned about a panic, that people would worry. They wanted to get everyone out of the building for their own well-being.
In all, there were 20 to 25 people evaluated for injuries or illnesses associated with this. One individual was transported to the hospital.
Those hit the hardest had preexisting conditions, like asthma, that already made breathing difficult.
Firefighters say they expect everyone to be OK.
Capt. Scott Freitag of the Salt Lake City Fire Department says it turned out the smell was coming from a chemical being used by construction workers at the south end of the building.
Apparently, contractors were applying concrete sealant to a parking structure, and some of those fumes got into the air conditioning system.
The sealant is a product that can be used both indoors and outdoors but requires masks and an ample ventilation area. Freitag says he believes there must have been a gust of wind that moved the chemical into the building.
The building is occupied by Qwest, so people are usually inside the building 24 hours a day. All service calls were diverted to other customer service stations during the evacuation.