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Roofing fumes cause evacuation of Loma Linda emergency room

October 18, 2012 |  2:51 pm

Nearly 40 patients were evacuated Thursday from the Loma Linda University Medical Center emergency room after potentially hazardous gas was detected in the hospital's ventilation system, fire officials said.

Hazardous materials crews were monitoring air quality in the hospital after chemicals being used to repair the roof were inadvertently sucked into the building's ventilation system, officials said.

Four sections of the hospital -- the basement, first and second floors and the emergency room -- were evacuated after patients began complaining of nausea and lightheadedness around 10:30 a.m. In total, 38 patients were displaced.

"A construction crew was on the roof doing repairs and they sprayed an adhesive on the roof. It got too close to the vents and was sucked in," said James Gray, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

Gray said fire officials were pumping fresh air into the hospital using industrial fans, and they expected the emergency room to reopen sometime Thursday afternoon.

Hospital officials said no patients were injured or sickened by the fumes.

"The safety of our patients is our highest priority," a hospital spokesman said in a statement.

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-- Wesley Lowery

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