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HazMat Crews Respond to Chemical Alarm at Rex Hospital

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RALEIGH — HazMat teams were called out after a chemical alarm went off in the loading dock area in the back of Rex Hospital Sunday evening.

The chemical, identified as ethylene oxide, is used for sterilizing medical equipment. A small amount of the chemical is normally emitted, however this time the level was high enough to set off the alarm.

HazMat crews say no one was hurt and at no time were patients in any danger.

"The tanks that contain the material was initially shut off automatically with the release. I do not know if it was an automatic shut off or if they were manually shut off," says H.F. Warner, chief, Raleigh Fire Department District 3.

Fire officials say the ethylene oxide was contained to one room. They say the ten percent compound was not considered a dangerous level.