Chemical scare in Round Hill | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Chemical scare in Round Hill

Michael Schneider

After evacuating the new Round Hill post office and Lake Tahoe Orthopedic Institute above it for about six hours Thursday, officials said they found nothing unusual in the air.

Workers at the post office had complained of light-headedness Wednesday and Thursday.

“We think there was something,” said Tim Smith, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Chief. He said he observed yellow jackets flying into the building and dropping to the floor, dead, within about 10 seconds.

A little after 10 a.m. Thursday, post office officials called the fire department and told them of the problem. The new post office opened Monday after construction was recently finished.

The department responded to the post office at Round Hill Shopping Center and evacuated both the post office and the institute. Smith said approximately 20 workers were evacuated.

Fire personnel were sent into the offices with oxygen tanks.

Smith said the fire department found nothing in either office at that time, but the Quad Counties Hazardous Materials Response Team was called in from Carson City to investigate.

The team is a cooperative effort from Lyon, Douglas, and Story counties as well as Carson City. Smith said there aren’t enough incidents, involving hazardous materials in any of the four regions to warrant individual HAZ-MAT teams so all four combined forces to serve the entire area.

The team arrived early Thursday afternoon and tested for a variety of potential causes.

After testing was completed, the HAZ-MAT team and fire department packed up their equipment and left the scene, according to Smith. At 3:30 p.m., Smith said they were packing up and would give the OK for the post office and medical center employees to return back to the their offices. Both sites reopened Thursday afternoon.

There are plans for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to monitor the air in both businesses over the coming weeks to see if anything can be detected.

Smith said his best guess for the air problem is that something residual was left over from the recently completed construction.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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