Palo Alto: ‘Unknown odor’ sends 12 to hospital, prompts hazmat response at Westin hotel

HMN File

Source: Mercury News By Robert Salonga

PALO ALTO — An “unknown odor” that caused respiratory irritation for several guests prompted a hazardous materials response at the Westin hotel Thursday night, according to the Palo Alto Fire Department.

The odor, which appeared to emanate from an underground garage area, was first reported to authorities at 9:09 p.m. at the hotel on El Camino Real east of University Avenue.

Fire officials said a dozen people were “decontaminated and transported” to the emergency rooms at Stanford Hospital and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. None of the ailments appear to be serious or life-threatening.

Other hotel guests were ordered to shelter in place as a precaution.

Palo Alto Deputy Fire Chief Catherine Capriles said the source of the odor was not immediately clear after an initial foray into the garage by hazmat crews from Palo Alto Fire and the Mountain View Fire Department. She said pool cleaning equipment was found, but intact and unlikely the source.

After a second search still did not find a culprit, the hazmat crews dispersed. While the source of the odor was not known, as of midnight Friday, officials were confident that it had “vented and dissipated” and posed no additional risk.

Training: Odor Complaint  and HazMat Situational Awareness – Making sense of scent

Test your HazMat scent skills: Advanced HazMat Scent Exam – does your nose know?


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