Quick effort to ventilate building prevents serious health problems

Noxious gas emitted by newly applied carpet glue caused three people to be taken to a hospital last week. by: GERT ZOUTENDIJK - Firefighters and police officers were on the scene quickly when gas fumes were reported at an office building on Meadows Road on Aug. 29.

A new carpet was being installed on the fourth floor of the building at 5000 Meadows Road the morning of Aug. 29. By 11:30 a.m. several employees complained of respiratory problems, and a call went out to Lake Oswego’s fire and police departments.

Lake Oswego Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk said none of the people was seriously harmed by the fumes, but four people reported feeling ill.

Three were transported to a hospital, and a fourth declined any medical attention beyond the checkup by fire department paramedics.

“Some were sick, nauseous and vomiting,” Zoutendijk said. “One lady was laughing uncontrollably. The gas made her high.”

Zoutendijk said that morning a work crew from a subcontractor was putting down the pad for the new carpet.

Shorenstein, the company that owns the building located in the Kruse Woods Corporate Park, has strict rules and guidelines about the kind of glue used, especially because the office suite had no ventilation.

“That message was not relayed to the subcontractor,” Zoutendijk said.

While the emissions from the glue affected four employees, other employees on the fourth floor reported no ill effects from breathing the fumes.

Lake Oswego firefighters and Shorenstein employees soon set about getting rid of the gaseous emissions. The office’s furnace system was reversed. In addition, windows were taken out and big box fans were put in to blow out all of the bad air. After 40 minutes, an air test taken by firefighters showed toxic substances in the air were down to zero.

“It was not a major situation,” Zoutendijk said. “Two of the people were taken to the hospital before we got there. Nothing serious happened to anyone. It was a pretty simple operation. We brought in fresh air and oxygen, and we didn’t have to decontaminate anybody.”

Zoutendijk said the ventilation was so effective that the carpet was left in place and the glue stopped emitting fumes.

Contract Publishing

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