Thousands of Orange County callers were blocked from getting directory assistance Monday and Tuesday after Pacific Bell's Buena Park office was temporarily evacuated while fire officials investigated a report of a strange odor, a Pac Bell spokeswoman said.
Pacific Bell and Buena Park Fire Department officials evacuated the Artesia Boulevard office about 10:30 a.m. Monday after 10 to 15 employees reported a peculiar, sulfurous odor and complained of burning eyes and sore throats, Pac Bell spokeswoman Linda Bonniksen said. The Fire Department gave an all-clear two hours later, but several employees went home, leaving the office understaffed by as many as 12 operators at times over two days, Bonniksen said.
A full analysis of the building was performed, but the source of the odor remains a mystery, Bonniksen said.
"There was a first-stage smog alert Monday, so that may have been part of the problem," Bonniksen said.
Instead of an answer from a directory assistance operator, many callers heard a tape informing them that their call could not be processed.
During busy weekdays, Pacific Bell employs as many as 147 directory assistance operators in four locations around the county, Bonniksen said. Those operators answer 25,000 calls an hour, Bonniksen said.