Scene photo courtesy WCSO

GASTON, OR (KPTV) – Washington County deputies evacuated at least half a dozen apartments in Gaston after they say a man was overcome by a strong chemical smell Monday morning.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded at 5:04 a.m. to the Riverside Apartments, located at 98 2nd Street, to assist fire personnel.

The sheriff’s office told FOX 12 a 55-year-old man was overcome by the smell of chemicals and found down in his apartment by a woman.

A Forest Grove police officer was the first to arrive at the scene and dragged the man to safety for evaluation by medical personnel.

The man was chemically decontaminated and then was transported to an area hospital.

The man was not identified but deputies said he is a veteran who is known to law enforcement. The sheriff’s office said he has expressed interest in making a bomb in the past.

Residents of at least six apartments were evacuated and shuttled to the Gaston Fire Department.

Preliminary investigation by deputies indicated that the chemical smell could be from acetate.

The sheriff’s office said the Portland bomb squad responded, along with the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue HazMat team and Gaston Fire.

Just after 8:30 a.m., the sheriff’s office said those who were evacuated could return to their homes and no hazardous chemicals were located.

Deputies said the origin of the chemical smell could not be determined.

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Gaston apartment complex deemed safe after bomb squad response