Bristol Community College Evacuated Due to Chemical Odor, 20 People Treated

A Massachusetts community college campus was evacuated Thursday and 20 people received medical attention after having trouble breathing.

Bristol Community College's campus in New Bedford was evacuated about 10 a.m., the school said in a statement, after an unknown odor was detected.

First responders initially received a call reporting the smell of natural gas, but once crews arrived at the scene it became apparent it wasn't natural gas, but some sort of chemical gas, Deputy Fire Chief Scott Kruger told The Standard-Times.

He said that about 10 people taken to the hospital complained of trouble breathing and that others were treated at the scene.

The college said in a statement that 20 people total, including students and employees, were treated for trouble breathing.

It's not yet clear what caused the odor, according to the school, which continues to investigate. The campus will remain closed for the remainder of the day and reopen Friday.

"The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is always our top priority," President Laura L. Douglas said in a statement. "We remain in close contact with those who received medical attention. The college would like to thank the responding public safety personnel, and we appreciate the continued cooperation of our community."

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