An apparent hazardous materials situation at Bristol Community College drew a large contingent of first responders to downtown New Bedford before noon on Thursday.

Williams Street was blocked by police tape and workers were seen donning HazMat suits and oxygen tanks outside the four-story college building at the corner of Williams and Purchase Street, which was evacuated.

Bristol Community College announced on social media that the building will be closed until 4 p.m. due to the presence of a "gas-like smell." Police, firefighters, and emergency management personnel at the scene said they were not authorized to speak with reporters.

This is a developing story that will be updated when official information is released.

The City of New Bedford has released the following notice:

The New Bedford Police Department advises that William Street between Pleasant Street and Acushnet Avenue, as well as Purchase Street between Union Street and William Street, are closed to traffic Thursday and will remain closed through Thursday afternoon until further notice.

At approximately 9:57 a.m., New Bedford Fire, Police, and EMS were dispatched to the New Bedford campus of Bristol Community College, located at 800 Purchase Street, due to a report of an odor of an unidentified source. City and state officials, working with Bristol Community College staff, continue to investigate the site, which was evacuated this morning out of an abundance of caution.

The Police Department advises motorists to avoid the two blocks of William Street between Pleasant Street and Acushnet Avenue, and the block of Purchase Street between Union Street and William Street, for the remainder of Thursday afternoon until further notice.

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