Luckily, when 911 operators at the Alexandria Public Safety Center smelled strange fumes in the building, they knew who to call.
Around 9 a.m. Sunday, personnel at the Department of Emergency Communications put out a call to the Alexandria Firefighters and Medics. Call center dispatchers had started to feel ill because of a chemical funk that was wafting up through the floor.
The call center was evacuated and emergency calls were routed to Alexandria's backup call center. After searching the building, a Hazardous Materials Team discovered a contractor working on the first level, sealing the floor with acetone and a chemical called Scofield Formula 1.
The windows at the facility have now been opened to provide some ventilation.
Emergency officials said that because of the backup facility, there was no interruption in telephone or radio traffic.
The fire department checked the facility at 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday and determined it was safe to reoccupy. Normal operations resumed at 9 a.m. Monday.