For the second time in less than a week, emergency responders were back at Intel’s Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro, OR, Monday, treating employees for mysterious respiratory issues.
Six people went to nearby hospitals for what Intel described as “treatment of minor breathing difficulty.” Public safety officials described their conditions as “non-critical.”
Emergency responders examined 35 people altogether, all with “very minor symptoms,” said Metro West public information officer Jan Lee.
Fifteen people from the Intel site went to Washington County hospitals late Thursday afternoon complaining of breathing problems. The workers reported “respiratory irritation” and “minor breathing difficulty,” Intel officials said.
Intel said its Manufacturing Support Building, a four-story, 429,000-square-foot facility, will remain offline “until further notice.” The company said the incident didn’t affect other facilities on the campus and a Washington County official said there is no indication of a hazardous material release outside the building.
“Our previous investigation as well as our current, ongoing investigation show no hazardous materials were released,” Intel said in a written statement Monday. “However, as a precaution, we have now evacuated all individuals from the affected building.”
Intel said it has bolstered its health services personnel at Ronler Acres to accommodate requests for health screening. The company said it evaluated its manufacturing tools for chemical or heat issues and found nothing unusual.
Intel said its heating and ventilation systems also checked out and there is no indication external air pulled into Ronler Acres’ intake systems created the recent issues. Intel said it is using temporary monitoring systems in the manufacturing building and checking them hourly while expanding air filtration on the campus.
In a tweet Monday, the Hillsboro Fire Department said it was treating “multiple patients” with five engines on site — plus five ambulances and a hazardous materials unit.
All the workers in Thursday’s incident were home from the hospital by late Friday.
Intel’s Ronler Acres campus is the company’s most advanced manufacturing facility, where the company develops each new generation of microprocessor. It’s a massive, multibillion-dollar complex of several interconnected factories and support buildings.