Hazmat incident shuts down New York ER for hours

Two people died and multiple first responders and hospital staff in Syracuse, N.Y., were affected by an unknown hazmat substance March 1, Spectrum News 1 reported.

Emergency services responded to an apartment building in the afternoon of March 1; they found two people dead and one ill. About 30 minutes later, police officers began to feel ill. A hazmat team was called to the scene while affected officers were sent to the hospital.

Four personnel were transported to Syracuse-based Upstate University Hospital with symptoms ranging from nausea to elevated heart rate.

"At one point, several hospital personnel also began feeling ill," the Syracuse Fire Department told Spectrum News 1. "The emergency department was shut down for approximately two hours and 15 minutes to manage the patients and prevent further exposures."

The sixth floor of the apartment complex was evacuated and hazmat personnel took samples to analyze. The hazardous substance has not been identified. All Syracuse police and fire personnel were released from the hospital, as well as the ill person located in the apartment, according to the report.

"Upstate University Hospital closed the Adult Emergency Department March 1 from 12:45 to 3 p.m. while treating patients from a possible hazardous materials situation at Brighton Towers apartment building in Syracuse," hospital spokesperson Kathleen Froio, told Becker's. "In total, nine patients were treated at Upstate University Hospital. Hospital operations have returned to normal and all Upstate EDs are open."

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