Hopkins Hospital reopens buildings after hazmat incident involving TB exposure

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Photo by Keith Weller, via Hopkins Hub

A pair of buildings at Johns Hopkins Hospital were evacuated this afternoon due to a hazmat incident that exposed some employees to tuberculosis.

Fire officials told WBAL-TV that the cause was possible tuberculosis exposure, and Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark told The Sun “it is a hazmat situation.” To add, WJZ reports some people may have been exposed due to broken vials.

A statement from hospital spokeswoman Kim Hoppe clarified things a bit. Hoppe said the fire department was “actively investigating a small amount of tuberculosis during transportation in an internal bridge between Cancer Research Building 1 and Cancer Research Building 2.

“Employees were in the area when the incident occurred, and these employees have been isolated and are expected to be evaluated by the fire department. As a cautionary measure, both Cancer Research Buildings have been evacuated.”

Officials said at a subsequent press conference that they do not believe anyone was actually exposed to tuberculosis. Both buildings have been reopened.

A follow-up statement from Hoppe said it was “a small sample of frozen tuberculosis that was being used for research purposes” that “was inadvertently released in a non-patient area.” Neither of the cancer research buildings are connected to the hospital, she said.

“We have confirmed that there was no risk to anyone on campus. We want to thank our employees for their quick response to the situation as well as the Baltimore City Fire Department.”

Aerial footage from WBAL-TV showed dozens of people standing outside the hospital and units putting on hazmat suits from within a sealed-off perimeter.

Clark has not responded to an email requesting more information.

This post has been updated.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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