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updated: 9/20/2012 8:04 AM

Gary workers used sick days in avoiding fumes

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Associated Press

GARY, Ind. -- Gary city workers who stayed home to avoid workplace paint fumes that sickened some of them used their sick days, not workers' compensation, in taking that time off.

Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram defended the action Wednesday, saying city employees working the front desk or records division of the Public Safety Facility had an option to move to another floor or use their own accumulated sick time.

Ingram tells the Post-Tribune of Merrillville "they could have worked upstairs, but they left."

Some workers reported nausea and vomiting and at least one was treated with oxygen after being exposed to fumes as contractors repainted jail cells earlier this month.

Those fumes spread through the ventilation system into adjacent, windowless offices even through doors were opened to the outside.

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