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Athens police officer, two construction employees hospitalized over exposure to paint fumes

ATHENS, Ala. – Several people, including an Athens police officer, were taken to the emergency room after they were overcome by paint fumes.

Athens police were called to Keenum’s Construction Company on Highway 31 just before 9:30 a.m. on Monday.

Officers found an employee in respiratory distress inside a construction water tank on the back of a large truck. Chief Floyd Johnson said the employee had been painting the inside of the tank and was barely breathing.

Sgt. Katrina Flanagan went inside the tank to try to rescue the employee with help from another employee. While attempting to rescue the first employee, the second employee said he was having trouble breathing. Chief Johnson said Sgt. Flanagan took off her breathing device and gave it to the employee.

Athens Fire Department crews arrived and were able to pull the original employee from the tank. The second employee and Sgt. Flanagan were also affected by the fumes and had to be helped out of the tank.

Emergency crews transported all three to Athens-Limestone Hospital’s Emergency Room for treatment.

Chief Johnson said they were expecting Sgt. Flanagan to be released Monday afternoon but did not have an update on the other two patients’ conditions.

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