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Fire official: Carbon monoxide ruled out in Great Neck medical scare

Four people were taken to North Shore University

Four people were taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset as a precautionary measure, one fire official said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Fifty-five people were evacuated from a Great Neck  medical office building Friday and evaluated for possible carbon monoxide exposure after several reported feeling sick, authorities said.

Responders arrived at 310 East Shore Road at 11:36 a.m. to find people complaining of dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches and nausea, said Joshua Charry, chief of department for the Vigilant Fire Company in Great Neck, one of several fire departments and county agencies that responded.

But whatever made them sick was a mystery, officials said.

"We had a whole lot of people complaining of symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide exposure, but they never really found carbon monoxide," Charry said. "So we really don't know what happened."

All symptoms were minor, he said, and of the group, four people with conditions considered non life-threatening were transported to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset as a precautionary measure.

The hazmat team and other investigators from the Nassau County fire marshal's office tested the air for at least six hazardous gases and also tested oxygen levels, said Michael Uttaro, Nassau County assistant chief fire marshal.

"There were negative readings on all the meters," he said.

The building's carbon monoxide detectors had not gone off, he said, and carbon monoxide was ruled out as the source of the "strange odor" that people initially reported.

Nassau police said people were allowed back into the building at 2 p.m.

Uttaro said the building's management decided to let people leave for the day if they wished and will ventilate the building through the weekend.

Vigilant sent two ambulances and a first responder paramedic. Also responding was Alert Fire Company with a heavy rescue vehicle; Manhasset Lakeville Fire Department; Port Washington Fire Department; and Nassau County sent police, as well as responders from the emergency ambulance bureau, office of emergency management with its mobile emergency room vehicle, and the fire marshal’s office with a hazmat team.

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