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Kona emergency room evacuated after chemical leak

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KAILUA-KONA >> A Big Island emergency room was evacuated and closed for several hours after an apparent leak of a chemical used in the hospital’s morgue and laboratory.

Kona Community Hospital employees reported smelling a strong odor in the emergency room Thursday morning, prompting an evacuation of about 35 people.

West Hawaii Today reported Friday six patients and seven staff members overcome by fumes were treated in other areas of the hospital. There were no serious injuries.

A fire department hazardous materials team deemed the area safe after checking air and flammability levels.

Capt. Kaipo Parish told the newspaper the exposure occurred when the chemical called xylene was being transferred between containers.

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