Bethesda Office Building Evacuated After Freon Leak

10:33 AM, Apr 1, 2009   |    comments
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BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA) -- Firefighters in Montgomery County are on the scene of a hazmat situation that led to the evacuation of a four-story office building in Bethesda.

Officials tell 9NEWS NOW dispatchers received a report of a possible freon leak in the 6900 block of Arlington Rd. around 9:40 Wednesday morning. A maintenance worker servicing the heating and cooling system for the building reported he had dropped a storage tank filled with freon causing the tank to leak. The worker was able to shut off the valve but was unsure how much freon escaped. Since he was servicing the heating and cooling system at the time of the incident, the worker was concerned the gas would spread throughout the building.

A spokesperson for the Montgomery County Fire Department says they evacuated the building and evaluated eighteen people who were in the immediate area of the leak. Everyone who was evaluated refused treatment. One person will be transported to a local hospital for an unrelated medical issue. 

The building has been declared safe and everyone was allowed back into the building around 10:20 A.M.

Freon is an inert gas that is an irritant in high concentrations. The gas effects the sweat glands and can cause difficulty breathing when it replaces oxygen in the lungs. Right now officials are unsure how much freon leaked into the building.

Stay tuned to 9 NEWS NOW and WUSA9.com for further updates on this developing story.