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Janitor mixing wrong chemicals blamed for City Creek mall scare

Published September 27, 2013 7:36 pm

Not on mall • Source of odor located at nearby LDS building.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A feared hazardous materials incident that shut down parts of downtown Salt Lake City's City Creek mall turned out to be much ado about, well, not that much.

Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jasen Asay said Friday that the Thursday night report of chemical fumes had hazmat workers rushing to the mall and its environs about 8:30 p.m.

On Friday, though, Asay confirmed that there actually were no "fumes," but rather just a strong odor — and that the incident was located within the LDS Church Administrative Buildings complex at 47 E. South Temple, not the mall itself.

The odor was traced to a building between the Hotel Utah and the historic Lion House. It turned out that the strong, noxious smell had resulted from a janitor mixing two still-unspecified, but incompatible chemicals.

The janitor, who became ill, was taken to the hospital checked out and released.

Still, emergency crew temporarily shut down parts of the mall Thursday night, as well as South Temple at 50 East.

The incident came a month after a similar, more severe incident across the street at Temple Square. On Aug. 22, 10 people were hospitalized after a janitor accidentally mixed chlorine and sulfur.

Temple Square and City Creek also are both owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Asay said the both incidents emphasize the importance of exercising care with cleaning chemicals.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims