A building at a Virginia veteran’s hospital was evacuated due to a ‘unknown chemical odor’ that turned out to be a urine sample.
On Wednesday afternoon, staff members at the behavioral health center at the Hampton VA Medical Center reported a ‘pungent’ smell that was spreading.
By 2.30pm, the building was evacuated while local firefighters and a hazmat team entered to investigate the situation, multiple local news outlets reported.
A few hours later, officials determined that the smell was actually coming from a urine sample that had been dropped off by a veteran.
The Hampton Fire Department told WTKR that it received a call around 2.15pm that an unknown substance had been detected in Building 144.
The smell started on the first floor but then began spreading to the second floor.
Spokesman John Rogers said that, as a precaution, mental health patients and staff members, were evacuated.
According to 13 News Now, approximately 50 staff members and patients were outside during the ordeal.
A veteran named Jay expressed concern over the toll the evacuation process took on the patients.
‘You have a lot of older disabled veterans here, and to get them out of here it takes time,’ he told 13 News Now.
Hampton VA Medical Center officials later revealed that it was determined the small was coming from a urine sample that a veteran had dropped off.
‘There were no contaminants, no hazardous material, according to the hazmat team and the fire department, so all is clear,’ Dr Taquisa Simmons, interim director fort the medical center, said at a press conference.
Two staff members who came into contact with the urine sample did receive medical attention at a hospital released, but have since been released.
‘They are doing fine. They are doing well,’ Dr Simmons said. ‘They got evaluated, no major issues. They were released. We expect to see them in the morning.’
Rogers told The Daily Press that the hazmat team entered the building at least twice and tested the air quality.
It is currently unclear if any substances were mixed into the urine, but the sample has been sent to laboratories in Richmond for further testing.
According to The Press, fire and police vehicles blocked the streets surrounding the building until around 6pm.
The facility posted on Facebook that the local fire department cleared the building for operations at 6.45pm. It reopened at 7am on Thursday morning.