Aurora urgent care evacuated after patient’s suspicious actions

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AURORA, Colo. — A series of suspicious claims and actions made by a patient at an Aurora Concentra Urgent Care caused emergency personnel to evacuate the building Friday morning.

According to Aurora Fire Department spokesperson Wendy Lippman, a patient walked into the facility located at 3350 Peoria Street shortly after 9:30 a.m. claiming to have been exposed to an unknown chemical.

The patient then left the urgent care facility. Shortly after that, emergency personnel evacuated the building as a precaution.

Hazardous materials crews found traces of sodium hydroxide — a highly corrosive salt that is often used as an industrial cleaning agent. Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda.

While the patient was at the facility, he was exposed to water and this caused the sodium hydroxide to release a gas, Lippman said. This raise concerns that medial personnel around the man may have been exposed.

The man left before firefighters arrived, presumably to go to a hospital. Firefighters have not confirmed if he arrived at an hospital or not.

Five workers came into contact with the sodium hydroxide and all five were taken to the University of Colorado Hospital and later released, said hospital spokesman Dan Weaver.

Other workers were subjected to a decontamination process.

Authorities have now turned their focus to finding the male patient who made the claims. He has not yet been identified.

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency were also on scene.