Two people were treated for chemical exposure on Friday after a dangerous substance reacted unexpectedly in a downtown Vancouver office building, sending fumes billowing into the streets.

Authorities say a urethane foam product was being used to raise the concrete floor in the building, located near in the 900-block of Nelson Street.

"There's been more product pumped into the building than expected," Fire and Rescue Batallion Chief John Hudson said at the scene.

Crews used their own foam to mitigate the effects, Hudson said.

Witness Ed Lee said a "really overpowering solvent-like stench" starting spreading through the building in the early afternoon and got worse over the course of the day.

Then, shortly before the building was evacuated, Lee saw smoke flowing out into the street. "It looked like it was a really foggy day," he said. "That's obviously when we all started becoming really concerned."

A fire engine was forced to park across Burrard Street, causing major traffic delays in the area.

Though the foam generates heat while curing, no actual fire was found. WorkSafe B.C. will be investigating the incident.