A contractor using a gasoline-powered engine indoors made some 30 people sick this morning in a building in northeast Washington that houses a cerebral palsy day program. Six people were sent to the hospital for treatment, according to officials.
More than 100 people, many of them in wheelchairs from the cerebral palsy program, were evacuated this morning after some people complained that a gasoline smell was giving them headaches and making them nauseous.
Fire and EMS officials said the gas-powered equipment caused a build-up of carbon monoxide inside the International Business Mall Building in the 1800 block of New York Avenue NE. The building houses a day program run by the United Cerebral Palsy Organization.
The evacuees were sheltered in tents from the heat after being escorted out of the building.
Fire crews confirmed high readings of carbon monoxide in the building, which was closed to the public to allow it to air out.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter told the Associated Press that the fact the building was also a home to a facility for mentally and physically challenged people presented somewhat of a challenge, since he said many could not tell rescuers if they were sick.
He said crews evaluated 100 people and treated 30 on the scene. Six were later sent to the hospital, but Etter said none were from the handicapped facility. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, he said.