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Chemical ventilation problem sends six to hospital

June 8, 2018 GMT

Update: Friday, June 8, 8:45 a.m. - According to Geotek President Ben Wiltsie, an internal investigation done by Geotek showed that the incident was a temporary ventilation issue, and not a chemical leak.

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Update: 10:45 a.m. - Geotek Chief Financial Officer Julie Aldrich says that all employees of the company who were taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital - Saint Marys have been medically cleared and released.

Aldrich added that she was told by Stewartville Fire Chief Vance Swisher that the monitors that indicated the chemical was hydrogen cyanide were faulty.

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STEWARTVILLE — A chemical leak Wednesday afternoon in Stewartville sent six people to the hospital for medical evaluation.

The Stewartville Fire Department responded to a report at 1:07 p.m. of a strong chemical odor coming from the Geotek Inc. Building, 1421 2nd Ave. NW. Reportedly, the chemical was hydrogen cyanide.

Olmsted County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Behrens said that Geotek employees had apparently returned from lunch and smelled the odor, which appeared to be coming from the production area. Several employees were exposed to the odor, and the area was evacuated shortly after.

According to Behrens, six people were transported to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Mary Campus in Rochester for medical evaluation. The employees reported eye and throat irritation.

First responders determined later in the day that leak didn’t pose an immediate threat to the area. Stewartville Fire, Rochester Fire, Gold Cross Ambulance and the Rochester Hazardous Material Chemical Assessment Team responded on the scene.