Syracuse, N.Y. – At 12:32 P.M., Monday May 10th the Syracuse Fire Department was called to 947 James Street for reports of a strong chemical odor inside the building. The first firefighters to arrive immediately began to evacuate everyone and called for the Hazardous Materials Response Team. Some of the building’s occupants began complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing. Firefighters began treating those affected, and several AMR ambulances were called to the incident. A total of seven people were evaluated or treated at the scene, and four were transported to local hospitals. Their conditions are not currently known.
Firefighters utilized detection equipment to determine what chemical compounds were present in the air. Several substances were identified, most of which were common solvents. One of the occupants refused to leave the building or cooperate, and would not permit firefighters to check his apartment or the area surrounding it. The Syracuse Police Department made contact with the individual, and spent nearly three hours negotiating and urging him to allow firefighters to check that portion of the building. He eventually agreed to come outside and firefighters were able to check his apartment and the nearby hallway. At that point, the chemical odor had completely dissipated and it could not be determined exactly where it had originated.
James Street was closed between Lodi and Highland Streets for nearly four hours as police and fire officials worked to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.