An OSHA inspector was on the scene Wednesday afternoon interviewing store managers and employees about the handling of a possible chemical mishap that sent four people to the hospital.
Officials shut down Walgreens pharmacy on York Street around noon Wednesday to deal with a “possible chemical substance spill.”
The fire department had the area around the pharmacy taped off as firefighters in haz-mat suits worked to clean up the material.
Chief Allyn Wright explained what happened:
Firefighters received a call at 11:45 a.m.: Something toxic had spilled in the pharmacy. A product was leaking through its container. It’s unclear what the substance was and what form it was in. Wright said it may have been a cleaning agent.
A manager told an employee to double-wrap the container and remove it from the store, along with a piece of carpet.
Firefighters arrived two find four employees in the parking lot suffering from possible chemical exposure. Four people were “overcome by fumes” and were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital after complaining of nausea and light-headedness. Two were vomiting when firefighters arrived. No customers were affected.
Wright said it would have been better to leave toxic chemicals in place and evacuate the area, to avoid further contamination.
Firefighters in hax-mat suits cleared the building of material and ventilated the store with fans.
They were scrubbed off outside the building, to avoid any further contamination.
The fire department went with someone form the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to take readings in the store. They found the place was safe for re-entry.
The store remained closed as of 2:50 p.m. while an OSHA inspector interviewed managers and employees about how the chemical spill occurred and how it was handled.