Hazmat team clears chemical irritant from Ottawa apartment

Hazardous material teams were dispatched to an Ottawa highrise Monday night to clear out an airborne chemical that was causing breathing problems and eye irritations to residents, according to emergency response teams.

Residents of an apartment complex on Cambridge Street North called emergency services at 9:19 p.m. Monday night to report what they believed to be a kind of pepper spray in the hallway, a spokesperson for Ottawa Fire Services said Tuesday morning.

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Firefighters arriving at the scene confirmed the presence of a “chemical product” in one hallway of the building, the spokesperson said.

Residents were advised to shelter in their apartments while hazmat technicians cleaned up the product and ventilated the building, with the operation wrapping up shortly before midnight.

Paramedics attending the scene said a man in his 40s was treated for exposure to the irritant, but that he refused transportation to the hospital.

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