UPDATE: News 12 First at Five
AUGUSTA, Ga.-- Workers were evacuated Thursday afternoon from Teleperformance on Wylds Road in Augusta. Several workers reported breathing problems and dizziness. Fire crews came out around 11 and evacuated part of the building. They checked chemical levels in the air and after 30 minutes, decided it was safe for workers to return to work.
But, soon after crews left, they were called back out in response to more reports of dizzy and light headed workers. On the second visit, fire crews evacuated the entire building, and found the problem.
They say a roofing crew was applying a sealant around the building's HVAC unit. No one turned off the unit, so it pulled the smell of the sealant into the building.
Hoards of flustered employees filled the parking lot outside of Teleperformance. Brandon Lanam was inside during the evacuation. He says, "When they said it's an evacuation, everyone kind of panicked."
Employees tell us the call center made sure they didn't make customers mad before they left the building. Lanam said supervisors said, "Everyone just log out of your phones and let the customers know there's a bit of an issue, and we're evacuating the building."
EMT's treated nearly two dozen employees who were feeling sick. Fourteen were taken to the hospital.
Captain Keith Lively with the Augusta Fire Department says, "Most symptoms included trouble breathing, we did have some with stomach issues, dizziness, things of that nature."
Workers reported smelling some sort of chemical before the symptoms started. One worker told News 12, "I thought it was just paint thinner. Everybody thought it was paint thinner."
They're hoping the building will be aired out within 24 hours, and workers will be able to return to their jobs. The Virginia College building is connected to Teleperformance. Fire investigators tested that building for problems as well, but they say everything next door tested fine.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Employees evacuated the Teleperformance call center after several people reported breathing problems and dizziness.
A roofing crew was applying a sealant around the building’s HVAC unit today.
The call center was evacuated after what they thought was the smell of gas, according to Captain Keith Lively for the Augusta Fire Department. Upon returning to the building, five people passed out after being cleared by the fire department.
People with breathing problems, like asthma, were affected first and were brought out for treatment. After others started having problems, they evacuated the entire building to do a full ventilation of the building. More than 14 people have been treated, Lively said.
The call center is on Wylds Road in Augusta