Building evacuated, 46 people evaluated after ‘unknown odor’ at south Charlotte business

Odor prompts evacuation at Charlotte business

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Fourty-six people were evaluated by Medic after an “unknown odor” forced a building evacuation at a business in south Charlotte.

The incident happened after 11:30 a.m. at a multi-story office building on Regency Executive Park Drive, which is off Nations Ford Road near I-77. Officials say the patients were experiencing nausea.

Medic originally tweeted out that they were working a carbon monoxide incident, but officials at the scene said they believe the HVAC system dispersed the smell of tar from construction work on the roof.

“The odor form the tar is being sucked in through the HVAC system and dispersed throughout the building,” Captain Dennis Gist with Charlotte Fire said.

Medic said of the 46 people who were evaluated, 5 were sent to the hospital and 19 were being monitored. All are expected to be OK.

Along with two Medic mass casualty buses, multiple ambulances and other emergency vehicles could be seen at the business.

Charlotte Fire Department was also at the scene. The department said the building had been evacuated due to an unknown odor.

Dr. Melissa Kerg is an Emergency Department Physician for Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C. Dr. Kerg says although it’s uncommon, the fumes produced from tar can sicken people. She says those who work around tar likely don’t get sick because they are outside. In this scenario, the fumes were in an enclosed space.

“Tar is petroleum based so it’s going to give off that same type fume {as gasoline}. If you’re in an enclosed space, you can’t get away from it,” Dr. Kerg said.

She says the average person may experience nausea or headache. Typically getting out of the environment will relieve the symptoms.

While it’s not required, she says if a person is susceptible to these symptoms when working with tar, she recommends they wear a respirator.

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