ROWLEY – Supermarkets are fraught with danger at every turn. For one, if you are easily susceptible to the elements of cold weather, then the frozen foods and dairy aisles could really do you in. For another, supermarkets are full of produce and fruits like bananas that are known for causing people to slip, fall, and hurt themselves.
And, lastly, there can be a gas leak that causes you to go to the hospital. And that may have happened to you, if you were one of the people who happened to be shopping in Rowley's Market Basket yesterday afternoon.
Between three and four o'clock yesterday, emergency services were called to the Market Basket location because the store had reported a series of troubling instances with customers unable to properly move. Immediately on the scene were police officers, EMTs, and firefighters as they sought to help remedy the situation and aid all afflicted.
It was unclear, initially, what was causing the physical impairments and discomforts for the customers, but it has since been determined and confirmed by James Broderick, the Rowley chief of police, that one of Market Basket's ice machines was experiencing a refrigerant leak which was pumping the store full of toxic vapor. As a result, the vapor was limiting the customers' abilities to breathe and was causing a metallic taste in their mouths.
The situation was treated as a hazmat-warranted problem and extreme caution was used to ensure that the store could function properly after the incident. According to Broderick, twenty-five people were evaluated on the site to determine if they needed to be sent to the hospital. Nine people were taken to local hospitals, but none of the afflictions they suffered are expected to be permanent in any way.
As for the Market Basket in Rowley, it is slated to reopen today.