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East Ventura County Focus

THOUSAND OAKS : Sulfur Odor at Amgen Found to Be Harmless

October 01, 1994|MARY F. POLS

A suspicious sulfur odor coming from a drain pipe on Friday prompted evacuation of an Amgen parking garage and a large response by the county Fire Department's hazardous materials unit.

An employee at the biotechnology company's Thousand Oaks campus reported a strong rotten-egg smell coming from the bottom level of a three-story parking garage just before 11 a.m. and alerted the Fire Department.

More than 20 fire personnel and members of the hazardous materials team investigated the smell. Two engine companies, a truck and the hazardous materials truck blocked employees' entry to the main campus throughout the lunch hour.

Kenny Kappen, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said the hazardous materials team was brought because of concern that high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas might have been in the garage.

"Whenever you have that sulfur smell you have the chance of severe injury," Kappen said. "With hydrogen sulfide gas, if it's strong enough, it can make you stop breathing."

Amgen spokesman David Kaye said about 2,400 people work on the Thousand Oaks campus.

The Fire Department flushed the drain with water and concluded that decomposing material had caused the smell.

"Whatever it was has dissipated," Kaye said. "The assumption is it was just stagnant water in the sump line."

No injuries were reported. All was back to normal on the campus by 1:30 p.m., Kaye said.

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