17 People Treated After Hazmat Situation

Seventeen people were hospitalized after a hazmat situation at a medical building in Malden, Massachusetts, on Friday afternoon.

Fire officials said they responded to the Malden Family Health Center on Savin Street for a hazardous materials situation. However, it's unclear what those materials were.

More than a dozen people suffered from nausea, some of whom were vomiting. Others complained of irritated throats and eyes.

"They were complaining of their throat hurting them," said Carla Pasciuto, the practice manager at the facility. "Some of them were rubbing their eyes."

Dozens of employees were at the Malden Family Health Center at the time. Several patients were there to see doctors, but none were affected.

"We just had the patients come out down the stairs," said Dr. Patricia Sereno. "Evacuated to across the street. We just followed what we normally do if there's a problem."

The hazmat situation occurred in a clerical area that is part of the facility's visiting nurse and hospice space. People on the third and fourth floors of the building were affected.

Investigators tested the whole building and found slightly elevated levels of formaldehyde, but they're not sure that was enough to cause the sickness.

Hours later, the building was deemed safe and some employees came back to finish work or retrieve their belongings.

"Everyone stayed calm," Pasciuto said.

All 17 people who were transported were treated and released later on Friday.

The investigation into the cause is ongoing.

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