El Paso, TX- By Tammy Fonce-Olivas, El Paso Times
About 100 people, nearly 40 of them children, were evacuated from an East El Paso strip mall on Thursday after firefighters detected a high level of carbon monoxide in the area.
The source of the carbon monoxide at the shopping strip at 1600 N. Zaragoza remained unknown Thursday.
El Paso Fire Department spokesman Lt. Mario Hernandez said fire investigators suspect the leak was coming from a gasoline-powered generator that was being used as part of a construction project at the strip mall.
Firefighters evacuated the shopping strip shortly after 11:30 a.m. They were called after employees and patrons complained about a strong odor in the area.
Nobody was taken to the hospital, but five women who had headaches and were feeling dizzy were treated at the scene, said Johnny Duran, a firefighter and paramedic.
Businesses — including a driving school, a day-care center and a bank — were allowed to resume operations more than three hours after the gas leak was reported. Hernandez said it took firefighters several hours to reduce the carbon monoxide fumes to safe levels using large fans called smoke ejectors.