BURLINGTON — One employee is dead and ten others hospitalized after exposure to a cleaning agent at a chain restaurant in Burlington, authorities say.
The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 pm at a Buffalo Wild Wings located at South Avenue in Burlington across from the Burlington Mall. The victim was attempting to clean the floor using a sanitizer when he was overcome by strong chemical fumes and immediately left the premises. He was later rushed to Lahey Hospital following the incident where he was pronounced dead.
The cleaning agent, commercially named “Super 8”, contained sodium hypochlorite, an active component of bleach. Witnesses reported both both customers and employees fleeing the restaurant in coughing fits and watering eyes, according to CNN.
"The gentlemen that passed away was an employee of Buffalo Wild Wings who attempted to squeegee the product out of the building when he was overcome," said Burlington fire chief Michael . "Anyone who was in the restaurant at the time and believes they may be impacted by the incident should seek medical treatment immediately… This is a common product used in floor cleaning. It was just a reaction that led to this."
The restaurant was evacuated immediately following the incident. Two of the victims were customers, while eight are employees. They were reported to have had nausea, difficulty breathing and irritated eyes. While the accident was treated as a Tier 1 hazmat incident, all patients are being monitored. Patterson indicated he does not believe any of them are in serious condition.
The cause of the incident is currently under investigation by local police in cooperation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Officials indicate there is no active threat to the public.
“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,” read a statement from a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson. The chain also drew criticism earlier this week after a racist incident in Napierville, IL involving a birthday party was circulated on social media, drawing the ire of national civil rights groups.
The employee, what has yet to be identified due to an ongoing investigation, was reportedly a newlywed and recent father of a newborn child, according to WCVB.
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