There were fears of a carbon monoxide leak
A strong perfume sparked panic at a Texas call centre and led to 34 people being taken to hospital.
When scores of workers started feeling sick and dizzy, it was feared that carbon monoxide or another toxic substance had leaked into the building.
However, it later turned out that a particularly strong brand of perfume was to blame. Lara Kohl, a MedStar ambulance spokeswoman said 34 people were taken to hospitals, 12 by ambulance, after reporting dizziness and shortness of breath at a Bank of America call centre in the city of Fort Worth.
Some employees also complained of chest pains and head aches. Another 110 people were treated at the scene. But after hazmat crews and the fire department inspected the entire building and said they did not find anything harmful, workers were allowed back in.
Lt Kent Worley, Fort Worth fire chief, said the incident started with two people complaining about dizziness after a female co-worker sprayed perfume. When others reported being sick, an announcement was made that anyone with similar symptoms should exit the building. Panic spread through the building and people poured on to the pavement outside.
Lt Worley said that the situation had escalated because of ‘psychosomatic behaviour’ and ‘contagious fear’. Investigators do not know what brand of perfume was sprayed.