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November 7, 2012
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All clear issued for Douglas Dispatch

Douglas County's dispatch reopened at 2:54 p.m. when firefighters determined the building was safe for workers after it was evacuated nearly two hours before.

East Fork firefighters responded to the center, located on Esmeralda Avenue near the historic Douglas County Courthouse at 1:12 p.m. today, on a report of a sick employee and an unknown odor within the building.

Two more dispatchers reported symptoms, and East Fork called on Carson City firefighters for help, because the county was responding to or on the scene of three other serious medical calls.

Carson City Fire sent an engine and rescue, according to Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson

"They actually left a brush fire to come help us because of the priority," Fogerson said. "Tahoe Douglas sent us a rescue. Carson City dispatch was underway with transferring the 911 VOIP phone lines from Douglas to Carson through the phone company."

Crews evacuated the building, assessed the patients and monitored the air within the building.

"The patients were evaluated with a carboxyhemoglobin meter to check oxygen and carbon monoxide levels among other diagnostic tools," Fogerson said. "The building was checked using a five-gas meter looking for changes in oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, explosive gases and volatile organic compound levels. Once outside, the patients reported the symptoms quickly disappeared. We found no oddities in the building's air system. No other employees within the building experienced any symptoms. Douglas County Facilities arrived and assisted us in checking the building for anything else that may cause the odor."

With the symptoms gone and nothing found in the building, it was released back to dispatch.

"We took no different an approach with this incident then we would for any other building with reports of sick individuals," he said. "With that said, the fact this was the dispatch center added a huge complexity for us in determining how to transfer phone lines, managing radio traffic for the multiple calls that were still going on and quite frankly, our normal operation of having them make contact with utility companies and the like for us."

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The Record Courier Updated Nov 8, 2012 09:35AM Published Nov 7, 2012 04:57PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.