Kona hospital evacuated after chemical fumes reported - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kona hospital evacuated after chemical fumes reported

KONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A chemical agent detected at the Kona Community Hospital on Thursday left 13 people sick.

The chemical fumes were reported at 8:30 a.m. in the hospital's emergency room department.

Hawaii County Fire Department and HAZMAT crews responded to the incident.

Thirty-five people were evacuated from the area. The hospital was given the all clear sign at about 10:15 a.m.

According to officials, the chemical was identified as xylene. Initially, the chemical had an odor, but over time the smell faded.

Six patients and seven employees were given oxygen therapy treatment after they reported symptoms of dizziness, difficulty breathing and burning sensation in the throat.

No life-threatening or serious injuries were reported.

According to officials, it was determined that the chemical was being properly transferred from one container to another, and the air flow brought the agent into the emergency department.

"We are fortunate that our hospital was able to make decisions quickly and have skilled and knowledgeable people in place before it became too serious," said Lance Anderson, Incident Commander and Assistant Administrator at Kona Community Hospital. "Our hospital employees know all about disasters such as the 2006 earthquake. The more we are proactive, the more prepared we are when it really comes time. If any hospital is ready, it is Kona Community Hospital."

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