Irritant under investigation
Riverside, Ca- The Riverside Police and Fire departments responded to the Riverside Convention Center, 3443 Orange St., Wednesday night, in response to a female employee collapsing after cleaning one of the restrooms. Initial investigation indicates a chemical irritant was discharged in the room. Investigation continues.
The Riverside County Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee dinner and awards ceremony was taking place elsewhere in the convention center when the woman was stricken at about 8:30 p.m. Emergency responders found that the employee, and a 17-year-old male Riverside Police Explorer, were suffering from the sensation of burning throat and eyes, difficulty breathing and nausea. They were taken by ambulance to Riverside Community Hospital. Two more female staff and three male staff members complained of moderate to minor symptoms and were taken by ambulance to Riverside Community Hospital and to Riverside County Regional Medical Center to be checked. Another female staffer was treated at the scene.
The irritant was contained to one main floor restroom; the substance had completely dissipated by the time the Riverside Fire Department Hazardous Materials team (HAZMAT) responded shortly after 9 p.m.
The exhibition hall and the award event were unaffected.
Orange Street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, adjacent to the Convention Center, was closed for emergency vehicle traffic only between 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Riverside Police continue their investigation of the incident.