Elgin police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 5:20 p.m. Monday to the 1100 block of Birch Drive when a resident of an apartment building called 911 to report a strange odor that was causing watering eyes and a metallic taste. Most or all of residents had already evacuated before emergency crews arrived
Eventually nine residents and three emergency personnel were transported to the hospital after the unknown odor permeated a six-flat apartment and made people sick. Two firefighters and a police officer were transported to Sherman Hospital after feeling ill with nausea and throat irritation. One firefighter and a police officer complained of chest pains as they were leaving the building. One firefighter was discovered with high blood pressure.
An extra alarm HazMat box and an EMS box alarm were called to the scene.
Access to the six-flat building, which housed five families, is restricted until an air-quality remediation company determines the cause of the odor, and the situation is resolved. The odor dissipated an the fire department ventilated the entire building Monday night as a precaution.
The local American Red Cross was called to help place the 12 people that were made homeless by the incident.