Update: Officials say that 16 people were hospitalized after the incident this morning. All are doing well and breathing on their own. UNMC physicians say the substance was hydrogen chloride gas that can cause respiratory problems.
Nebraska’s tallest building was evacuated around 10 this morning after several people became ill after breathing in fumes. Eleven people were hospitalized with one person in serious condition. Others were treated at the scene.
Omaha’s First National Bank Tower spokesperson Kevin Langin says, “We initially evacuated floors 17 on down to the main floor. Those fumes since became apparent in other areas of the building so out of abundance of caution we evacuated the whole tower.”
Approximately 2,000 people in the 45 floor building were evacuated to other First National Bank facilities safely.
A likely cause has been determined. Langin says, “A descaling solution was being used with the humidifier in the building and some of the fumes were apparent to some of the employees.”
The Tower is located at 16th and Douglas Street in downtown Omaha.