Authorities say one person was killed and 11 others had to be hospitalized after a chemical accident at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Burlington, Massachusetts, on Thursday.
According to Michael Patterson, the assistant chief of the Burlington Fire Department, one restaurant employee was rushed to the hospital after being exposed to sodium hypochlorite, a powerful cleaning agent, while he was preparing to clean the floor. The employee told first responders that he was feeling nauseous after breathing in the fumes from the chemical.
The employee died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Investigators were called out to the restaurant shortly after 6 p.m. on Thursday after receiving a report of the chemical incident in the restaurant's kitchen. Authorities believe a different employee was preparing the sodium hypochlorite to mop the kitchen when he smelled the fumes and fled the area. The employee who died had stayed behind to try and mop the cleaning solution out of the back of the restaurant by squeegeeing it out the back door before he was overcome by the fumes.
Another ten people, including two customers and eight other employees, reported difficulty breathing and eye irritation and were taken to the hospital for further examination.
“The gentleman that passed away was an employee of Buffalo Wild Wings who attempted to squeegee the product out of the building when he was overcome,” Patterson said . “Anyone who was in the restaurant at the time and believes they may be impacted by the incident should seek medical treatment immediately.”
The chemical mix forced the fire department to evacuate the restaurant for a Tier 1 Hazmat Incident.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this horrific accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation," A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson said in a statement.
Police and fire officials are conducting an investigation into the incident.
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