About 350 staff and patients at Nebraska Medicine’s Durham Outpatient Center were evacuated this morning in Omaha. Treva Cohee walked into the center just before 10 a.m. for an appointment. She says, “About five steps in I started coughing. My throat felt irritated. I saw another lady and she started coughing and then everybody started coughing. I got in line to check in to my appointment and was told that everybody had to evacuate.”
After all the patents and staff were settled in a nearby auditorium officials with Nebraska Medicine and the Omaha Fire Department went looking for the source of the irritant. They went floor to floor before it was determined the odor was coming from a nearby parking garage.
Omaha Fire Assistant Chief John McCormick says, “We determined it was a paint contractor was painting in the garage area and had left the scene because he was finished with his work. The product they were using was causing an irritant. It wasn’t really hazardous to anybody’s health but it caused a respiratory irritant or an eye irritant.”
A few people were taken to the emergency room and were treated and released for headaches and other minor problems. All appointments at the Durham Outpatient Center were canceled for the day.