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Largo office building evacuated after chemical leak

A Largo Fire Rescue truck sits outside an office tower at 801 W Bay Drive on Wednesday after the building was evacuated because of a refrigerant leak in the air-conditioning system.
A Largo Fire Rescue truck sits outside an office tower at 801 W Bay Drive on Wednesday after the building was evacuated because of a refrigerant leak in the air-conditioning system.
Published Mar. 13, 2013

LARGO — Air-conditioning repairmen accidentally broke a coolant line and forced the temporary evacuation of an office building Wednesday morning.

Largo Fire Rescue Division Chief of Logistics Joseph Pennino said an emergency call was placed around 9 a.m. after two workers in an equipment room on the eighth floor of the building at 801 W Bay Drive split a copper refrigerant line as one of them tightened a valve.

They left the area immediately, and Largo Fire Rescue was called. The coolant poses a suffocation hazard, as it displaces breathable air.

In all, around 200 pounds of the coolant was released. Fire Rescue workers evacuated the building, vented it and monitored oxygen levels on the seventh and eighth floors of the building.

The building houses offices for Wells Fargo and Keller Williams Realty, among other businesses. No injuries were reported, and evacuated workers were told they would be able to re-enter the building around 11 a.m.