Update: Acidic air sickened Riverhead office workers

02/29/2012 1:00 PM |

UPDATE: Fire officials are saying acidic air sent four office workers to a hospital Tuesday night, though they’re not sure exactly the cause.

“Overcharged batteries, toner from a copy machine, it could have been a number of things,” said Riverhead Fire Department chief Nick Luparella.

The victims, who were working in the former post office building on West Second Street at the time, were later released from Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead after being treated for symptoms ranging from burning eyes and rashes to tingling lips and breathing problems, said fire department press officer Bill Sanok.

Firefighters received the call about 5:45 p.m., Mr. Sanok said.

A Riverhead fire chief and town police officer were also affected, but their symptoms disappeared after they left the building, Mr. Luparella added.

Hazmat crews at the scene got a low-level positive reading for acidity in the air inside the building, but the source of the air irritant could not be determined, he said.

Riverhead police, fire crews, ambulance volunteers, Brookhaven fire marshals and hazmat units responded to the incident and remained at the scene until about 12:15 a.m. The office building was checked Wednesday morning and reopened after test results came back clean.

psquire@timesreview.com