Local News

Odor Drives County Workers From 3 Harnett Buildings

Posted April 17, 2007

— Dozens of Harnett County employees were forced from three county buildings Tuesday morning after a strange odor began making people sick, authorities said.

Employees at the Department of Aging and the Department of Social Services reported the odor when they arrived for work, but many thought it was a cleaning product used overnight, said Gary Pope, director of Harnett County EMS.

Some employees reported feeling nauseated later in the morning, so the county ordered an evacuation of a three-building complex, including the county Health Department. About 160 workers were affected, Pope said.

"It was strong, nothing like I've ever smelled before," said John Rouse, director of the Health Department. "When people started getting sick, we evacuated the building."

Eleven workers were taken to Betsy Johnson Memorial Hospital in Dunn for treatment of symptoms ranging from dizziness to nausea to respiratory problems, Pope said. None of the injuries were life-threatening, he said.

Hazmat teams spent Tuesday afternoon swabbing walls and desktops and monitoring air inside the buildings to determine the source of the smell.

Investigators were unable to find a cause for the odor, so county officials decided to reopen the buildings Wednesday.


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  • morebadnews Apr 18, 2007

    I personally do not find this funny either. If some of you were involved you may have seen the seriousness.

  • cheekygreek Apr 18, 2007

    I love it when I open the comment section,and all I can do is laugh.It's the makings for a good day! Thanks all.

  • Godisgood Apr 18, 2007

    I find it very ignorant for people to find this incident funny. You watch your co-workers passing out, throwing up, and nobody knows what caused it. May wanna pay more attention to the news. No situations like that should be taken slightly.

  • Mrs. Fabulous Apr 18, 2007

    lol@ all these post! Too funny!

  • sick of You Apr 17, 2007

    Many of my farts have been dubbed a "strange odor". Just thought I would put that out there.

  • 2little2late Apr 17, 2007

    my bad

  • historian2 Apr 17, 2007

    It must have been that woman shoplifter from the strange news section.

  • My Camel and Me Apr 17, 2007

    Wonder if this is the new hot spot for a meth lab...

  • I hear voices Apr 17, 2007

    Had any of them eaten at Taco Bell?