HAGERSTOWN - A health scare in downtown Hagerstown on Wednesday grew out of a language barrier.
A Hagerstown Police officer thought that African refugees living in a West Franklin Street apartment building were sick. Fearing a dangerous illness, officials quarantined the building and set up decontamination tents.
The refugees didn't speak English and couldn't tell the officer that they were OK.
Reviewing the incident on Thursday, Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker said emergency personnel are not told where refugees are living in the city or whether they can communicate with first responders.
Richard Cline, director of the Virginia Council of Churches refugee resettlement program, said he believes telling officials where refugees are living and what languages they speak would be an invasion of privacy.