Montgomery Fire Department officials say batteries caused the odor that led to the evacuation of the Montgomery Police Department and city jail on Saturday morning. The complex was emptied for several hours as crews worked to ventilate the area.
It happened around 8:00, according to Sergeant Regina Duckett, Public Information Officer for the Montgomery Police Department. "We had some employees that started smelling an odd smell inside the building. Some alarms were going off near a room that held a lot of batteries."
Duckett tells CBS 8 News police immediately evacuated the police building and city jail. "We didn't know what the smell was or what was coming from those batteries. We needed to make sure nobody was exposed to anything toxic," she said.
Lieutenant K.O. Jones of the Montgomery Fire Department says the batteries have been removed from the building. The units were reportedly used to power backup generators during electrical outages. "Over a period of time, those batteries lost their integrity from the heat generated from the charger system. It started to emit a strong gas," he said.
Police say 12 people were treated at the scene. A firefighter was transported to a nearby hospital after overheating in an encapsulated suit. Jones tells CBS 8 News the firefighter has been released to full duty. No serious injuries were reported.
Evacuation orders have been lifted from both buildings. Police and fire officials say they will continue to monitor the situation throughout the evening.