AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An urgent care center in Aurora was evacuated Friday morning and people there were being decontaminated after staff members found evidence of sodium hydroxide.
At approximately 10 a.m. a patient walked into the Concentra center at 3350 Peoria Street with suspicious burns on his body. That sent out a red flag to people working there, and they found the presence of the chemical by using a monitor.
Hazmat crews rushed to the scene and the building, which also contains two other businesses, was evacuated.
At noon crews were working to decontaminate the building and were making sure other patients and staff weren’t exposed to the chemical.
“When he came in for care he came in contact with a handful of medical workers and those medical workers are considered to be exposed,” said Aurora Fire Department Capt. Wendy Lippman.
Sodium hydroxide can be used to strip floors and can be used in other construction work. It also sometimes is a product in methamphetamine production but not in this case.
It’s a base, and when it comes in contact with water — as was in the case with the man who triggered the scare — it then creates a gas.
The fumes from the chemical reaction spread throughout the building. Crews decontaminated the building. They also made sure that patients and staff who were exposed were washed down in decontamination tents.
Authorities said five people were taken to University of Colorado Hospital. All had been discharged in good conditions as of 2 p.m. Friday.
Concentra will remain closed until Monday because of the hazmat incident.