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Fumes, Smell Force Evacuation of 150

June 04, 1993

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Hospital officials evacuated about 150 people from an FHP Inc. medical building Thursday morning after noxious fumes filled the facility and two employees were admitted to the center for observation later in the day, authorities said.

The two employees, whose names were not released, complained of nausea and eye irritations, authorities said. Sixteen other FHP employees and patients were treated and released for similar complaints after an industrial-strength cleaner, sulfuric acid, reacted with other unknown chemicals in the building's drainage system and formed noxious fumes with a strong smell, Fire Department and FHP officials said.

The incident began about 9:50 a.m. when a maintenance worker poured the cleaner down a drain in a first-floor radiology laboratory to try to unclog it, said Fountain Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief Paul Summers.

Fire Department officials said the exposure to the fumes was minimal and would probably not lead to long-term health problems.

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