Workers from the Humana Waterside building wait outside while firefighters check for a natural gas leak.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Five employees of the Humana Waterside building were treated at Louisville hospitals after a pair of incidents that brought emergency crews to the building Tuesday morning.
The first incident caused employees to be evacuated around 8 a.m. after employees reported a smell of natural gas. Louisville Fire Department crews reported to MetroSafe there was an odor of natural gas, but said there was not an active gas leak.
According to Brian Phillips, a spokesperson for LG&E, workers were doing maintenance on a boiler in the building. As part of the work, Phillips said the workers purged a gas line that feeds the boiler. After the line was purged, some of the gas in the line was circulated by the ventilation system and smelled by other employees.
While firefighters believed the odor was from a purged gas line, they did a floor by floor check of the building for a possible gas leak. Phillips said the employees did the right thing by calling 911 and the evacuation of the building was out of an abundance of caution. One employee was taken to the hospital.
Workers were allowed to return to the building around 9:30 a.m. after firefighters finished their search of the building.
Crews were back at Humana Waterside about an hour later after several employees on the third floor began feeling sick. Louisville Metro EMS treated four people for what are being called heat-related symptoms.
Alex Kepnes, a Humana spokesperson, tells WAVE 3 the problem this time was related to the air conditioning system in the building. The system had been shut down during the initial incident and was not operating at full capacity when it was returned to service.
Metro EMS took four people to the hospital for to be checked out. As a precaution, firefighters again checked the building for gas, but said their readings came back negative.
Kepnes said Humana Waterside employees who work on the third floor have been given the option to take paid leave for the remainder of the day. Kepnes also said they have encouraged the workers to walk outside for fresh air.
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