Four workers were sickened Monday — one critically — by carbon dioxide fumes emanating from a utility room about 200 feet from Terminal 8 at Los Angeles International Airport, prompting an evacuation of the terminal and impacting some inbound flights.
Firefighters responded to the leak about 7 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Airport officials said Terminal 8 was evacuated due to the situation.
“Passengers are being sent to Terminal 7 for screening and access and Terminal 8 remains closed at this time,” airport officials said via Twitter. “Please check with your airline for updates on flights.”
Some United Airlines flights bound for Los Angeles were being held at their origin airports while the investigation was conducted, resulting in some flight delays. LAX officials noted that Terminal 8 was the only terminal impacted, affecting only some United flights, and all other airport operations were continuing normally.
According to airport officials, LAX-bound United flights that were already in the air were continuing to land as scheduled, but all others were being held on the ground until after 10 a.m.
“LAFD crews remain on scene at Terminal 8 to ensure there is no hazardous material inside,” airport officials said about 9 a.m. “Once they clear the area as safe passengers will be allowed back inside. Inbound United flights will be impacted so please check with your airline for the latest on any rescheduling.”
According to the LAFD, the reported release of carbon dioxide occurred “in a utility room within the airport, more than 200′ from the Terminal 8 Baggage Area.”
“Though NO passengers/travelers were directly affected by the release, in the interest of safety, airport officials moved as many as 100 persons from Terminal 8 to Terminal 7 in a calm and orderly manner,” Brian Humphrey of the LAFD said in a statement.
“The four persons who took suddenly ill — 3 adult males and 1 adult female — were all workers in or near that unknown-size utility room, when a popping sound was heard, and the apparent release of carbon dioxide vapor took place,” Humphrey said.
“Three of the four workers — 2 males, 1 female — have been treated at scene for minor complaints,” Humphrey said. “The fourth worker, described as a male in his 50s, was found pulse-less and non-breathing inside the utility room. He was provided prompt CPR and advanced life support by LAFD paramedics, with continuing advanced medical care during transport to an area hospital. His condition was updated from grave to critical on hospital arrival.”
According to Humphrey, LAFD hazardous-materials experts “closely examined the area with sophisticated instruments, and discovered only trace residue of carbon dioxide remaining within the utility room.”
“No escalating or off-site hazard was identified,” Humphrey said. “LAFD responders are utilizing portable fans to further ventilate the immediate area to outside air.”
Airline passengers were urged to follow the @FlyLAXairport Twitter account https://twitter.com/flyLAXairport for updates, and to check with their airline for any updates on flights.