SEATTLE – Firefighters and police officers responded to the Northgate Mall at the 400 Block of NE Northgate Way for a report of an irritant in the air that was causing coughing and eye irritation.
Crews arrived on scene and used the PA System to evacuate the entire mall as a precaution. Approximately 100 people were outside displaying mild irritation, but did not require further medical treatment or transport to the hospital.
Seattle Police officers were able to quickly identify the substance as pepper spray, so the full HAZMAT response was cancelled. Firefighters worked with the building engineers to navigate the HVAC system to allow the contaminated air to clear.
Firefighters walked throughout the mall to monitor the air in different areas. Police officers stood at each entrance to keep the exits blocked, until it was safe to re-enter. People were allowed back inside the building after approximately one hour of being evacuated.
If people who were at the mall this afternoon display any further irritation, they should flush their eyes with water and contact their primary care physician.