More than a dozen people exposed to radioactive substance in Seattle

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SEATTLE -- The Seattle Fire Department says their hazmat teams responded to the Harborview Medical Center Research and Training Building after a hazardous material breach happened around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

According to fire officials, 13 people were exposed to a radioactive substance in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. Ten of those people were taken to a local hospital for observation, but they've since been released.

“They’ve been discharged and given the all clear," Susan Gregg with Harborview Medical said. "The level of exposure is less than having a pet scan.”

Contract workers were in the process of removing a radioactive substance known as Cesium - 137 from a research building when a breach happened.

The Seattle Fire Department has contained the substance to an area that is blocked-off near Alder Street and Terry Avenue. Officials say there is no current threat to the public.

“There were some custodial workers, they were inside the building. They were evacuated and they’re getting checked out by us,” said Kristen Tinsley with the Seattle Fire Department. “The six contract workers are still in the hot zone, and they’re not exiting until it’s safe to do so.”

Cesium-137 is given to patients in blood transfusions, but is radioactive and can be dangerous.

The Department of Health has also been called in to help safely remove the radioactive substance.

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