Haz-CAT Team Responds to Essentia Health on Tuesday

By KBJR News 1

April 24, 2013 Updated Apr 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Essentia Health's First Street building remains closed following a mysterious odor that forced the evacuation of the clinic.

The Duluth Fire Department responded to the scene Tuesday morning after patients complained about an ether– like smell that was making them feel sick and faint.

The Fire department utilized its HAZ–CAT team to investigate the smell.

Haz– CAT stands for Chemical Assessment Team, and the team's job is to analyze the air for potentially hazardous materials.

The haz – CAT team is a unit within the Duluth Fire department.

The team monitors hazardous chemicals in the air such as carbon monoxide, sulfide gas, and hydrogen cyanide.

Many other incidents they get called to have to do with petroleum–based products such as gasoline and diesel spills.

They have equipment to test the air and other potentially hazardous chemicals.

All members of the Duluth fire department have some level of training with the haz–CAT team which makes it a vital resource to the community.

"It's a really great resource to have in Duluth, again it's a state sponsored team, but there are only 11 of them in the state...spread throughout, but it's really unique to have in this area for us, we have quick response, we have a lot of expert equipment and we have the expertise to handle situations like these," said Shawn Krizaj, Hazardous Materials Coordinator for Duluth Fire Department.

After doing multiple tests at the first street building, the team says it did not find anything of concern.

Essentia Health officials sent additional air quality samples to New York to be tested.

Essentia Officials they are expecting the air sample test results on Thursday.

Around 85 percent of appointments scheduled for Thursday will take place at other Essentia locations in downtown Duluth and neighboring clinic sites.

Patients will be notified by phone of the new appointment location, or if their appointment has been canceled.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.