Chemical smell shuts down Kaiser

A suspicious smell shut down the Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara and made one man ill this evening, according to the Fire Department.

Deputy Fire Chief Augie Wiedemann said fire and hazardous material crews responded to a report of a “chemical-type” smell in the emergency room at 7:05 p.m.

One staff member said he didn’t feel well after smelling the smell and he was treated by Kaiser staff for what Wiedemann described as minor injuries.

The Fire Department closed off a portion of the emergency room and then shut down all traffic in and out of the hospital.

Wiedemann said county ambulances were lined up outside the hospital for any new patients who needed to be transported elsewhere:

“No patients were allowed to leave and no new patients were allowed in.”

After roughly more than three hours of investigating the suspicious smell, Wiedemann said fire and hazmat crews were not able to identify it.

He said they ruled out flammable gas and neurological, biological or blistering agents as the cause, but could not say with certainty what it actually was:

“We just wanted to make sure it wasn’t there when we left.”

Wiedemann said the department turned on the air conditioning systems and started allowing people in and out around 10 p.m.

A representative from Kaiser was not immediately for comment available this evening.