A hospital spokesman said a construction crew had been spraying adhesive roofing material on the building, and somehow, a small amount of it got into the fresh air intake.
As doctors set up a triage in front of the emergency room, many patients were taken by wheelchair off the property around lunch time. It was all a precaution, but for a while, many people didn't know where the smell was coming from.
It was enough for them to close down part of the emergency room, leaving some people who wanted to get into the hospital wondering what to do next.
"I went to the door to go through emergency, and they told me that I had to step back," said Shanita Baker of Loma Linda.
Baker said she didn't smell any unusual odor, but people who were inside the hospital smelled it.
"We smell like a little burning smell, like electricity, burned electricity smell," said Jamar Lee, a hospital employee.
The fire department worked all afternoon to make sure the air was safe before allowing people back inside.