HILLSBORO, Ore. – Paramedics took 17 people to hospitals after they were exposed to toxic fumes caused by battery overcharging at a Hillsboro business.
None of the injuries was serious, firefighters said.
When fire crews arrived, they found at least 50 people who had evacuated Cascade Systems Technology, located at 23176 Northwest Bennett Street, before 8 a.m. Monday. Firefighters said 17 people were complaining of eye and nose irritations, difficulty breathing and nausea.
An 18th employee who was suffering from those symptoms had already left to visit a doctor before fire crews arrived.
Firefighters called in a medical task force to evaluate the employees.
Company managers told firefighters that several lead acid batteries were on a timed charger over the weekend, but the charger did not turn off. The batteries overheated and began emitting acid fumes.
Firefighters checked the building for fumes before they allowed employees to go back inside.
There were no threats to any other businesses in the area.
The company specializes in electronic design and manufacturing services, according to its website.
Accidental battery overcharging sending 17 to local hospitals from lead acid fumes exposure. Minor injuries only. pic.twitter.com/Y7bWHmOFZZ— Hillsboro Fire Dept (@HillsboroFire) July 21, 2014