At about 5:30 pm, Tuesday, July 13, 2010, officials from NASA in Greenbelt, MD, requested the assistance of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. A strange odor and a possible illness in an administrative office of Building #22 at NASA, which also houses radiation labs on the bottom floors, prompted a full-fledged hazardous materials response.
Upon the Fire/EMS Department arrival, all NASA employees inside the building were evacuated and were quarantined in an adjacent parking lot. Decontamination teams were established and prepared to de-con anything and anyone that came out of the building. Paramedics maintained vigil over the evacuees and no injuries or other illnesses were reported.
The Fire/EMS Department Haz-Mat team gathered information about the contents of the building and the possibility of a radiation leak was quickly ruled out by NASA officials. A Haz-mat entry team made their way to a 3rd floor office and tested the atmosphere. They did find water dripping from the ceiling and a buildup of water on the floor above from a leaking HVAC pipe or roof leak.
NASA Command advised that a water leak from HVAC or roof area in an administrative office area is the only unusual thing found in Building #22. No Haz-mat was detected or oxygen displacement noted. At about 8:00 pm, after a through and complete investigation of the entire building with all safety precautions being utilized, the all clear was given and the nearly 60 firefighters and paramedics operating on the scene started to clean up and prepared to return in service.