Police and firefighters descended on a Hollywood neighborhood Monday night after a woman who had recently returned from Africa was reported ill and possibly infected with the Ebola virus, authorities said.
Firefighters were called about 9:15 p.m. to the 5900 block of Barton Avenue, just west of Paramount Pictures and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, according to Erik Scott, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The severely ill woman had recently traveled back from Gabon, Africa, and out of an abundance of caution, fire officials responded as if the woman had contracted the Ebola virus, said Peter Sanders, the public information director for the Fire Department.
Firefighters later described the woman’s symptoms to a physician, who concluded that it was “extremely unlikely” that the woman had contracted Ebola, Sanders said. The woman’s symptoms included fever.
“Once we talked to our medical director everything de-escalated pretty quickly,” Sanders said.
The woman was to be taken to a hospital for additional treatment, according to Scott, who said she was in serious condition.
A hazmat team was deployed to the scene along with 33 firefighters, Scott said. The Los Angeles Police Department sent officers to help with crowd control, LAPD Officer Tony Im said.
The swarm of police and firefighters along with the arrival of helicopters spooked residents, who came outside to see what was going on.
“I was like, somebody got shot or it was a movie,” said Daniel Elster, who lives down the street from the ill woman. Nervous from all the hubbub, Elster, 29, said he would not be sleeping at his home tonight.