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Downtown Tampa building evacuated because of fumes

Police handle traffic issues after the Park Tower is evacuated Tuesday for about two hours after noxious fumes were released during the removal of an air conditioning unit, authorities say.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Police handle traffic issues after the Park Tower is evacuated Tuesday for about two hours after noxious fumes were released during the removal of an air conditioning unit, authorities say.

TAMPA — The Park Tower at 400 Tampa St. was evacuated and two people were taken to the hospital after a report at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday of refrigerant released during the removal of an air conditioning unit from the building, authorities said.

Tampa Fire Rescue responded at 12:19 p.m. and found a noxious gas on one of the floors, chief Tom Forward said. Though the refrigerant was removed from the chiller days earlier, there was visible smoke on the floor when firefighters arrived, Forward said.

Six people complained of symptoms from the gas, including difficulty breathing and chest pains. Two were taken to Tampa General Hospital, Forward said.

Forward said it is still not clear how the chemical was released.

About 765 people work in the 35-floor building on average, Forward said. Many gathered across the street while waiting for news of whether the building was safe and when they could return.

At 2:35 p.m., Fire Rescue declared the building safe for people to return to work.

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3111.

Downtown Tampa building evacuated because of fumes 04/09/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 11:57pm]
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