MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ (PIX11)—
Monmouth county admiration officials spent several hours testing air samples Monday from inside the courthouse building this afternoon. The results were negative for volatile chemical compounds.
65-people people fell ill Monday afternoon inside the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold.
One patient, who declined to go on camera, tells Pix11 she came back from lunch walked inside and immediately experienced shortness of breath.
Emergency crews on the scene tested her blood pressure and she says it was through the roof.
Thirty-two people, including court officers, lawyers, visitors were sick enough to be sent to Centra State Medical Center. Dr. Michael Jones head of the ER, says his staff had its hands full.
“At the very least it was a respiratory irritant. Saying beyond that, I don’t want to speculate”, Dr. Jones told Pix11’s Jay Dow.
Dr. Jones added most patients complained of “respiratory complaints and throat irritations, and chest tightness. Shortness of breath. Some with transient rashes. Many of them picked up a feint smell, a sweetish odor. We designed a tent that goes behind me that has the capability of decontaminating over 60-patients at a time.”
Friday’s air contamination sickened 17 people in the west wing on the first floor. Investigators initially suspected the smell from freshly cut flowers as the cause.
But crews spent this weekend removing the flowers, which only added to the mystery surrounding the source of today’s airborne contamination…which occurred throughout the sprawling building.
“I think they’re going to be testing tonight to see what that leads to. But the possibility of cleaning the whole building is certainly an option”, Monmouth County Administration spokesman Bill Heine told reporters outside the courthouse.
County Administration officials say without knowing the source of the contamination or more specifically if this is the result of an intentional act, they have no choice but to close the courthouse building tomorrow while they continue testing for pollen, dust, and mold.