By Ralph Iannotti

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Authorities are investigating after several guards became sick on Tuesday at the Allegheny County Jail.

It happened while they were checking inmates’ cells.

Allegheny County officials confirm that a total of eight corrections officers were sent to a hospital to be evaluated Tuesday, after they all began to sweat profusely and experienced elevated heart rates.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:

Allegheny County Jail Deputy Warden David Zetwo said in a written statement that the officers were searching cells on the E-pod, when they began feeling ill. He didn’t say what they were looking for.

Zetwo said the guards were seen by the jail’s medical staff, and, as a precaution, they were all sent to a hospital to be further evaluated.

Sources told KDKA-TV News that there were seven correction officers and one sergeant involved in the incident. They were bused back to the jail after being cleared by hospital doctors, and then sent home.

The deputy warden said officials do not know what caused the symptoms; however, sources tell KDKA the guards were looking for contraband, specifically, what’s known as K-2, which is a synthetic marijuana.

Sources say somehow the drug was smuggled into the jail, and into the hands of inmates, and some of them were using it profusely. While none of the guards was admitted to the hospital, sources say several of them nearly passed out from breathing in the K-2 chemicals during the cell searches.

Allegheny County Police are investigating.

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