A medical facility on East Main Street was evacuated Friday afternoon after five people complained of stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea — “all the same time, unrelated,” according to Battalion Chief Mike Barneich of the Santa Maria Fire Department.
Firefighters evacuated the two-story building in the 1400 block of East Main Street, which houses several medical offices including the Shepard Eye Center, Community Health Centers-Arbor Medical Group and Lab Corp.
One person was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center while the others were checked at the scene by American Medical Response crews.
Santa Maria firefighters consulted with the Santa Barbara County Hazardous Materials Unit officials regarding the incident, but stopped short of declaring it a hazmat incident.
“We didn’t have a visible smell, we didn’t have a visible cloud, we didn’t have anything we could point to to call it hazmat,” Barneich said.
What caused the sudden unrelated illness isn’t known, but Barneich noted that the facility has cleaning solution for sterilizing medical equipment.
With the building emptied, Barneich said, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will run and the building owner will bring in their experts to evaluate the systems before employees and patients return.
“We shut down the building for the weekend and they’re going to work with their contractors to make sure the building is safe before they open up again on Monday,” Barneich said.