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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marines are investigating an unusual odor coming from a warehouse on Camp Kinser.

A hazardous materials team investigation began Monday after Japanese workers said they became sick after working in the vacant warehouse.

The area was secured and nearby buildings were evacuated, 2nd Lt. Scott Sasser, a public affairs officer for Marine Corps Bases Japan, said Tuesday.

“A full investigation to find the source of the odor is underway,” he stated in a news release. “However, fire department hazardous material teams conducted atmospheric tests outside and inside the building, which at this time have shown no abnormalities.”

According to the officials at the Urasoe City Fire Station, located near the base, six Japanese base employees reported they became sick after working in the warehouse last week. Two of them complained of rashes and sore throats.

“The Marine Corps is fully cooperating with Japanese emergency response agencies to ensure all necessary precautions are taken,” Sasser said. “This is all the information we have currently as this is an ongoing investigation.”

A spokesman for Okinawa Defense Bureau of Ministry of Defense on Tuesday said the bureau was concerned by the report and is waiting for the results of the investigation by the military.

He added that initial reports indicated the odor may have come from leakage from an old pipe in the building.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this story.

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