Durham Outpatient Center reopens after Tuesday morning evacuation

Posted at 4:33 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 18:23:54-04

Nebraska Medicine says a little before 10 o’clock Tuesday morning a strong odor was reported near the Durham Outpatient Center.  Some folks began complaining about trouble breathing and throat irritation. 

‘When I was waiting in line for my appointment everyone around me just started coughing,” said one patient. 

Initial 911 reports were for a gas odor in the area, 350 patients and staff members had to evacuate.

“There was kind of a line at the elevator, because there were quite a few people in wheelchairs or walkers,” said a patient.

“It was a lot of people all at once trying to get out,” said an employee.

Staff members acted quickly to make sure everyone got out safely. 

“We went around to all the rooms trying to get all the babies out and they were down to diapers and we were trying to get them wrapped in blankets and get them out the door as fast as we could,” said a Children’s Hospital employee. 

Nebraska Medicine spokesperson Taylor Wilson says they train for situations like these,” said Taylor Wilson. 

“Anytime something like this happens everyone has a role and we just kind of swing into action and know what needs to be done,” said Taylor Wilson.

Shortly after the Omaha Fire Department arrived on scene, they ruled out a gas leak.  OFD says fresh paint in the parking garage was reacting with the heat and humidity of the day.  The project has since stopped.

The Durham Outpatient Center reopened around 2:30p.m Tuesday.