Odor leads to Hazmat response, evacuation in Pawtucket, RI.

imageHMN- A government building was evacuated when a strong odor was noticed. Because it’s a government facility, it probably should be considered a target of opportunity for hate groups and all threats should be taken seriously. See the video from News 10.

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WJAR) — Firefighters evacuated approximately 100 people from a building at 249 Roosevelt Avenue in Pawtucket Wednesday afternoon after receiving a report of a strong chemical odor in the area.

The state Hazmat team, as well as the Department of Emergency Management, along with crews from Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and North Providence, responded to the scene around 3:30 p.m.

“When they got here, they did smell a strong odor,” Lt. Ken Moreau of the Pawtucket Fire Department said. “It smelled something like a moth ball.”

Firefighters said at one point the smell was so strong it hurt their eyes. They vented the building for about 20 minutes, but the smell came back stronger.

Every time crews came out of the building, they had to be hosed down.

After hours of searching and testing the air, they realized the smell was caused by a chemical used to strip floors.

“We could see the floors all shining,” Moreau said. “In one area, (they were) still dull. That’s where they found that cleaning room and found an empty bottle of floor stripper.”

According to authorities, the building houses mostly state employees, including probate court and the Department of Human Services. They’re relieved the smell wasn’t caused by anything serious.

“It’s a state building, so you’re worried about with state buildings is people come in all the time and not all of them are happy,” Moreau said.

As of 9 p.m., authorities appeared to be concluding the search.

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