Perfume sends 34 to hospital

FORT WORTH — A rush of hysteria over what was initially reported as a gas leak likely resulted in 34 people being sent to area hospitals Wednesday afternoon.

But the actual culprit was perfume, brand unknown.

That's right — perfume.

Lt. Kent Worley, a Fire Department spokesman, suggested that the situation escalated because of "psychosomatic behavior."

Medical experts often refer to such episodes as "contagious fear."

Fort Worth firefighters and ambulances were called about 12:45 p.m. to the Bank of America building at 5401 N. Beach St. in Fort Worth, just north of Loop 820.

Emergency officials responded to what they were told was a leak of carbon monoxide, a colorless, poisonous gas with no odor.

Firefighters soon learned, however, that a spray of perfume was the flashpoint for chaos.

"Two employees reported some dizziness in close association with someone spraying on some perfume," Worley said.

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