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Unusual odor forces evacuation of downtown L.A. medical center

January 6, 2011 | 12:10 pm

A hazardous materials team is investigating an "unusual smell" in downtown Los Angeles and has evacuated patients from a medical center as a precaution, authorities said.

About 50 city firefighters responded at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to reports of an unusual odor on Olive Street near Venice Boulevard, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott.

At least 11 patients with non-life-threatening conditions were evacuated from the nearby Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center and examined by medical personnel on the scene, Scott said. The patients were being taken to local hospitals, he added.

The source of the odor -– and whether it poses any health risk -- has not been determined, Scott said.

"I don't want to cry wolf," he said. "They are still investigating."

Police officers were also on scene to encourage people to leave the area, Scott said.

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-- Shan Li

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