Source Of Odor That Prompted Nursing Home Evacuation Identified  

2 Employees, 4 Patients Hospitalized 

The Springbrook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center off Highway 42 West of Clayton was evacuated this morning (Monday) while the NC Regional Hazardous Materials Team searched for the source of a chemical or gas odor that sickened two employees.

Around 8 a.m., the Clayton Fire Department and Cleveland Fire Department were called to 195 Springbrook Avenue in the medial park complex that includes the Johnston Health hospital. Two employees were waiting for emergency responders at the entrance reporting that they had been sickened from the odor of what they said smelled like chemicals or gas in the back part of the building near the facility’s dining room. They were taken to the nearby hospital and released a short time later.

Immediately, Clayton Fire crews began going through the building using their gas monitoring devices, but crews could not detect any levels of gas. Johnston County Emergency Management and Piedmont Natural Gas were both called to respond and help with finding the cause of the odor.

Piedmont Natural Gas could not detect any levels either and determined their lines to the building were not affected.  Members of the NC Regional Hazardous Materials Team conducted a thorough sweep of the building. This is a state-organized regional team of responders trained for specialized hazardous materials situations.

Officials determined the source of the odor was a lubricant sprayed on the wheels of meal carts and other push carts in the kitchen area in the back part of the building.  The odor began to overwhelm that area of the building and some employees.   That section was ventilated and cleaned. The carts were also removed and cleaned.

Officials were in the process of relocating 94 patients of Springbrook to other facilities in the area.  44 of the 94 residents had been moved from the building when officials determined the cause of the odor. Those residents were allowed to return a short time later.

Four of the patients who had been moved complained of distress during the relocation process and were taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. These are not believed to be life-threatening issues.

Johnston County Emergency Services helped coordinate the massive transportation undertaking utilizing ambulances and area shuttles and ADA compliant buses from JCATS (Johnston County Area Transport System). Around 30 residents were bed-ridden patients who had to be moved to stretchers and then transported by ambulance.

Springbrook contacted all family members of patients to make them aware of the situation.

While gas was temporarily shut off to this facility, no other businesses in the busy Springbrook Medical Park on Highway 42 were affected by the outage or odor call.