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Customers evacuate Aiea shopping center because of fumes

  • COURTESY CARROLL COX
    Firefighters clear out sealant fumes that forced customers to evacuate the Westridge Shopping Center at Kamehameha Highway and Kaonohi Street in Aiea.
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Patrons and workers of several businesses at an Aiea strip mall across Pearlridge Center evacuated on their own Wednesday night after breathing fumes from a floor sealant being applied in an office.

Fire Capt. David Jenkins said 14 firefighters responded to a 6:26 p.m. report of a chemical odor at the Westridge Shopping Center, 98-150 Kaonohi St.

Workers at one of the businesses were applying a floor sealant when the odor got taken into the building’s first floor air conditioning system and redistributed throughout the first floor of the two-story building. The building’s second floor is on a separate system, Jenkins said.

Environmental activist Carroll Cox, who had just finished dinner across the street, saw people coming out of the 7-Eleven, Makino Chaya and other restaurants, clutching their throats, coughing and complaining of headaches.

The fire crews shut down the air- conditioning unit, opened up the doors and ventilated the businesses using the Fire Department’s ventilation equipment.

Fire personnel treated one person for nausea until Emergency Medical Services arrived and treated and evaluated the patient, who refused further treatment, Jenkins said.

Fire crews completed their work at 8:35 p.m., and workers were allowed back in to put their equipment away

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