Park Tower and streets reopened after hazmat situation - WFLA News Channel 8

Park Tower and streets reopened after hazmat situation

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Tampa Fire Rescue report that it has reopened Park Tower at 2:35pm after a noxious fumes forced an evacuation.  TFR tested air samples on all 35 floors and has deemed it safe for people to return to work.  All roadways are also reopened.

Earlier TFR reported that a contractor was removing a chiller from an air conditioner located between the 4rd and 6th floors of the Park Tower building.  Authorities say when the contractor cut into a pipe using a torch, noxious fumes were released. 

Fumes initially caused 6 people to have a reaction.  However, authorities say 4 people were treated on the scene and refused further treatment.  The two remaining people were transferred to the hospital.  Authorities say one person had chest pains and other had difficulty breathing.  TFR is conducting a floor-by-floor air quality assessment of the 35 floor building.  If TFR determines the air quality is safe, it will allow people to return to work.  Many of the evacuated first believed the event was a fire drill. 

"I didn't bring my purse or cell phone," said Jenny Doan, who works inside. "I thought it would be a few minutes and we'd go back, but here we are."

Nearly 800 people work inside the Park Tower building. Many of them stood in the park across the street and watched the action unfold.

"Everyone was calm. There was no panic because nobody knew exactly what was going on," said Dave Bove. "Now that we know it's maybe gas, it's dangerous."

TFR says the air quality check will take some time to conduct.

"Fire fighters are checking every floor, every work space to ensure everyone has been evacuated from the building," said Tampa fire chief, Tom Forward.

Earlier TFR confirmed a Hazmat situation at the Park Tower building located at 400 N Tampa Street.  Authorities said several people reported smelling a foul odor that led them to feel sick. 

"A number of employees began to complain of different sensations, whether it was difficulty breathing or chest pain issues," said Chief Forward.

Authorities evacuated the building. Tampa police initially assisted fire personnel by setting up a perimeter and clearing the streets surrounding the building.  A triage was set up at the scene to treat those affected.   

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