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Unidentified odor in Newport sends eight to hospitals

September 07, 2011

Eight people were released from Hoag Hospital facilities after a strong, unidentified odor made them ill in a Newport Beach office building, authorities said Wednesday.

Their symptoms were serious enough that they were transported to facilities in Newport Beach and Irvine, Schulz said.

Hospital officials said the patients were treated and released, but could not add any other details.

About 5 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters were called to 180 Newport Center Drive, a two-story building near Fashion Island.

When firefighters and police arrived, they saw people with their eyes and mouths covered leaving the structure and its underground parking area, according to Fire Department spokeswoman Jennifer Schulz.

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An odor was reportedly irritating their eyes and making it hard to breathe, she said.

About 100 people evacuated the area and responders treated 21 victims, according to Schulz.

After a five-hour search for the source of the odor, officials could not determine what caused it, Schulz said. They searched the air conditioning system and other portions of the building, but by Wednesday there was no trace, she said.

The Orange County Health Care Agency and fire units from Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and the Orange County Fire Authority responded to the emergency.

—Lauren Williams and Mike Reicher

Twitter: @lawilliams30 and @mreicher

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