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Nevada Avenue between Cache la Poudre and Uintah in downtown Colorado Springs is closed due to a hazardous material incident at Colorado College. KRCC’s Hannah Sohl reports.
Late this afternoon, multiple people in the Olin Science building began complaining of respiratory issues. The building and its neighboring facility were then evacuated. Sunny Smaldino with the Colorado Springs Fire Department says at least 13 people were symptomatic of chemical exposure. They were decontaminated and sent to the hospital for further assessment. Smaldino expects the heavy traffic route to be closed through rush hour.
“HazMat operations usually take quite a while, and it’s quite a process to get geared up, go in, test, and then decontaminate. So, we anticipate this road being shut down for at least another couple hours.”
Smaldino says the initial reports say the chemical was titanium tetrachloride, but that has not been confirmed by the HazMat team yet.
The incident happened while the College was testing its emergency system.
UPDATE: Colorado Springs Fire Department HazMat crew has confirmed the chemical was titanium tetrachloride. 12 of the 13 affected are expected to be released from area hospitals tonight; one is still in serious condition.