23 Metro Center workers taken to hospital - WSMV News 4

Panoramic view of evacuation of building at Metro Center on Thursday, Jan. 17. Click on picture to move left or right.

23 Metro Center workers taken to hospital

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Evacuations at Metro Exchange Evacuations at Metro Exchange

Firefighters had to keep their distance Thursday morning in the Metro Center area of Nashville as flames spread to a propane tank outside a warehouse.

A 1,000-gallon propane tank caught fire about 5:45 a.m. near a business park along Great Circle Road, but the cause of the fire is unclear.

"Tanks have been known to go almost a half-a-mile when they blow," said District Fire Chief Buddy Byers.

Firefighters blocked nearby streets as they worked their way in close enough to put a stream of water on the tank before retreating to safety again.

"If the fire goes out, the water from the engine is warmer than outside. So, that will heat the tank up so then we have another problem," Byers said.

Surrounding buildings were briefly evacuated, and no injuries were reported in the fire.

23 treated for possible carbon monoxide

The orange glow of the fire lit up the dawn sky, but the fire was just the start of a very busy morning for emergency crews in that area.

Twenty-three employees at a different Metro Center building, called Metro Exchange, were later transported to hospitals throughout Nashville as a precautionary measure after they complained of nausea and breathing difficulties.

After the workers were taken to the hospital, medical personnel determined they had levels of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Officials said the fire and illnesses were not related, and it remains unclear how the workers became exposed to carbon monoxide, but crews were busy keeping the area secure before the potential threats were declared clear.

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