Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weird smell prompts evacuation of art store


Santa Barbara Fire crews evacuated Aaron Brothers Art & Framing at 601 State St. yesterday after employees there reported smelling a toxic odor inside the building.
Emergency crews arrived on the scene just after 5 p.m. to find two employees complaining of sickness.

Fire Capt. Pat McElroy said as firefighters walked through the building searching for the source of the smell, they too began suffering from respiratory irritation.
After ventilating the building and inspecting the air conditioners and other utilities, McElroy said firefighters determined several empty spray cans of adhesive glue, which are sold at the store, caused the smell.
“It looks like there might have been someone in there playing with a spray can,” he said. “The nozzles were removed. The spray cans were activated in the store.”
He said the employees, who were given oxygen by paramedics after being evacuated, told the firefighters they had seen a group of teenagers gathered in the aisle where the spray cans are sold.
The employees apparently told McElroy the teenagers could be heard laughing in the aisle and coughing. Shortly after the teenagers left, he said the employees also began coughing.

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