CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - The odor of tar forced employees to evacuate a south Charlotte building on Thursday. Fire officials tell FOX 46 that the building is now safe for people to return, but workers aren’t quite ready to walk back in.
Some left work early, and one woman told FOX 46 that she’s going to the doctor to get checked out just to make sure she's ok.
“I think it created anxiety for everyone,” Yolanda Cato said.
Cato works in the Regency Executive Park building near West Arrowood Road. One employee had to be wheeled out of work on a stretcher and another worker says her friend passed out from the strong smell.
“We were entering the building this morning, we heard a beeping noise we didn't think anything of it, about an hour or so later we were all asked to evacuate the building,” said Cato.
Fire officials say dozens of people were checked out by medical teams and five people were sent to the hospital complaining of nausea and headaches.
“It raised an eyebrow for caution. It makes you apprehensive to return immediately,” Cato said.
Firefighters say workers were putting tar on the roof of the building and the smell circulated through the building's air conditioning system making workers sick. Charlotte Fire says they checked it out, there are no hazardous materials and the building is safe for workers to return.
“The building was deemed clear we ran our hazmat meters through the building and everything came back negative,” Charlotte Fire Captain Dennis Gist said.
Cato says there was also an ambulance outside the office park on Wednesday.
“We thought maybe it was an employee who had some medical condition that needed care, but for them to come out today in droves we knew it was something a little more serious than that.”
Charlotte Fire tells FOX 46 that the workers' symptoms are common for people who aren't often around tar, and who aren't used to the odor, and that the building is completely safe to enter.