The Utica Police and Fire departments continue to investigate what caused the evacuation of an apartment building on Rutger Street in Utica on Thursday.

Fire and police personnel were called to the Historical Apartments at 100 Rutger Street just before 3:00 yesterday afternoon regarding a noxious substance in the air that was causing breathing problems and skin irritations among residents.

Utica firefighters immediately entered the building and helped evacuate the residents to a safe location.

For the next several hours they attempted to locate the source of the irritant and tested the air quality repeatedly for safety.

Officials say readings indicated that the source likely originated from the fourth floor, however a definitive cause or origin could not be determined at this time.

At about 6:00 Thursday night, Utica Police and Utica Fire units conducted a final walk through of the complex and determined that it was safe to re-enter.

At that time all residents were allowed back in.

About 70 residents had been evacuated from the apartment building.

Fire officials are asking residents that if they continue to experience any discomfort or shortness of breath to contact the Oneida County 911 Dispatch center and appropriate personnel will assist them.

The investigation into the origin will continue today jointly with the Utica Police and Fire Department.

Both agencies are thanking their State and local partners for their assistance during this incident, and they are also thanking the residents for their patience while their safety was ensured.

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