Hazmat Firefighter - Photo courtesy of sandyman on Shutterstock

Fumes seeping from underground prompted a hazardous materials response Tuesday in Temecula, where a commercial building was evacuated and part of a street cordoned off until authorities could sort out the origin of the substance.

The hazmat emergency occurred about 11:45 a.m. in the 28700 block of Via Montezuma, near Commerce Center Drive, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The agency said multiple engine crews were sent to the location and encountered occupants of a business complaining of a strong odor.

Firefighters initiated an investigation and detected fumes leaking from beneath a manhole cover near the structure, which was evacuated, without any reports of anyone falling ill or requiring immediate medical attention.

A battalion chief ordered a “zone of exclusion,” and firefighters, with assistance from sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers, blocked off part of Via Montezuma, prohibiting motorists and pedestrians from entering the area as a safety precaution, according to officials at the scene.

County Department of Environmental Health and Temecula Building & Safety personnel were summoned to the location to provide support.

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