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Posted at 4:36 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Dozens evacuated at D.C. hotel

By Clarence Williams

5:36 p.m. Update: D.C. Fire Department officials said a chemical reaction in a trash compactor created a dangerous odor that forced the evacuation of the Washington Marriott.

Authorities expect 22nd Street to remain closed until about 6:30 p.m., but nearby streets may open sooner, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman.

5:20 p.m. Update: D.C. emergency officials said one person is being evaluated and the hazardous materials unit is "working to mitigate [a] chemical reaction" in a service area.

Original post: Authorities evacuated a Northwest Washington hotel and shut down several blocks near 22nd and M streets Thursday, due to a mysterious odor detected. Evening rush-hour traffic could face delays.

D.C. firefighters and hazardous materials units were called to the Washington Marriott in the 1200 block of 22nd Street about 4 p.m., said Pete Piringer, a spokesman. Authorities were investigating an unknown odor from a lower-level utility area, he said.

All 250 rooms of the hotel were evacuated, Piringer said. Several blocks of 22nd Street have been shut down as well as several adjacent blocks. M Street remains open, he said.

No illnesses were reported and all guest are being sheltered at a hotel across the street, Piringer said.

By Clarence Williams  | January 20, 2011; 4:36 PM ET
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