Sickness in NJ courthouse remains mystery
FREEHOLD, N.J. - June 19, 2012 (WPVI) -- Investigators still don't know what was making people sick when they went into the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold.
The courthouse remains closed today while officials continue to try to figure out what's going on.
Experts have ruled out the presence of any volatile chemical compounds - so what is it that's making people sick?
"We tested for dust, pollen, and mold. Nothing was found out of the ordinary; now, we're going to go back and try to test for more common allergens," Monmouth County Spokesman Bill Heine said.
The courthouse was evacuated Friday and again Monday.
82 people were sickened suffering from symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness and a rash.
A decontamination tent was set up at CentraState Medical Center where personnel in hazmat suits bagged the clothing of those who became ill.
"People were getting sick, again and it was actually right down the hall from where I do work," courthouse employee Dot Locher said.
Fresh cut flowers and chemicals have been ruled out as a source.
Lisa Sabatino took off from work and drove all the way from Burlington County to file some papers but was frustrated to find the courthouse doors locked.
"I have paperwork that's due today so now I don't know what to do," Sabatino of Chesterfield, New Jersey said.
The courthouse closure is clearly an inconvenience, but the only answer until the cause of what's making people sick is dealt with.
new jersey, monmouth county, local/state, nora muchanic
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