Six people were taken to hospitals after showing non life-threatening symptoms possibly due to an unknown substance at a waste management and recycling location in Irvine, officials say.
By Eileen Frere and ABC7.com staff
Friday, September 09, 2016 12:18PM
IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Six people were taken to hospitals after developing symptoms possibly due to an unknown substance at a waste management and recycling facility in Irvine, officials say.
The hazmat situation was reported around 8 a.m. at Sunset Environmental, located in the 16100 block of Construction Circle West. The entire facility was evacuated, which amounted to about 20 people.
The facility is where trash and recyclable materials are separated. No hazardous materials are supposed to be dumped at the location.
According to the Orange County Fire Authority, a total of seven people exhibited symptoms, including coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. Six people were taken to local hospitals.
Those showing symptoms included two drivers with Ecology Auto Parts, who were getting their trucks ready to haul sorted trash to the landfill.
"Couple of our drivers were at the catwalk tarping their loads in, started to feel nauseous, irritation in the nose, eyes watering and sneezing," described a worker at the scene.
The OCFA used equipment to monitor the air, while a hazmat team tried to find a source of the problem.
"They have to dig through a lot of the garbage that people throw away. Sometimes, what people throw away, however, can be some nasty stuff," said a firefighter on scene.
Members of the hazmat team said they were not able to pinpoint a source of the symptoms toward the end of their search.