Paint Fumes Sicken 7; Office Building Evacuated

Monday, December 3, 2012 - 9:47am

The City of Madison Fire Department's Hazardous Materials team was called to a west side office building this afternoon after occupants reported trouble breathing and hives.

Crews responded to 583 D'Onofrio Dr. at 1:44 p.m. for a report of a strong odor in the building.

Occupants evacuated the building and met the firefighters when they arrived. Seven of the occupants reported feeling ill, but their symptoms eased once they got to fresh air. None required transport to a hospital.

Engine Company 7 entered the building to investigate. Firefighters noted heavy fumes on the second floor, with monitors verifying the poor air quality.

Upon investigation, the hazmat team found a tenant on the second floor who had been painting a wall using a paint containing isocyanates. Isocyanates are the raw materials that make up all polyurethane products. Isocyanates are thought to be a sensitizer and can cause allergic reactions.

The paint contained cautionary warnings about inhalation and was to be used in a well-ventilated area. It was used in an enclosed office space. The windows in the building cannot be opened.

Fumes from the paint had entered the building's ventilation system and spread throughout the second floor.

Occupants were advised that the atmosphere was most likely safe. They were allowed to return to the building, but they were cautioned to be alert to any reactions and leave the building if symptoms returned. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, and general illness. Sensitive people may experience hives and difficulty breathing.


  • Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947