Odor prompted Detroit Police communications center evacuation - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Odor prompted Detroit Police communications center evacuation

Posted: Updated:

By Maurielle Lue
FOX 2 News Reporter


DETROIT -- Employees were evacuated from the Detroit Police Department's main emergency communications center Tuesday after a strong odor later determined to be natural gas overwhelmed the building.

"Some folks became light headed and dizzy," said Todd Bettison from the communications center. "EMS did check out a couple employees to make sure that they were okay."

No one was seriously hurt, but there was a heavy Hazmat and fire presence on the scene.  EMS responded with breathing treatments while Hazmat contained the scene.  Crews used giant fans to ventilate the building.

Firefighters checked gas meters around the communications center perimeter, but could not initially trace the origin of the leak.  The smell was eventually traced to a DTE Energy substation.  Police said the wind carried the gas smell into the duct work of the communications center.

Detroit Police brought in buses so employees wouldn't have to wait in the cold.  All Detroit Police officers were ordered to report back to their precincts to help streamline communication, and 911 calls were rerouted to a backup location on Detroit's east side.

We asked Bettison whether there was a point in time where people called 911 and could not get a response.

"I would have to look further into that, but on the safe side, I would say between five and ten minutes there could've been," he said.

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