Hazardous fumes at a Knightdale McDonald's hospitalizes six

November 8, 2009 6:31:04 PM PST
A haz-mat incident in Knightdale Sunday morning sent six people to the hospital.Wake County, Knightdale, and Raleigh based emergency crews responded to the McDonald's at 7141 Knightdale Boulevard around 10 a.m. Customers complained of coughing and many said they were suffering from irritated throats.

“A hazardous material exposure here on Knightdale Boulevard at the McDonald’s,” said Wake EMS District Chief, Jeff Hammerstein.

Thirty-one people, including both McDonald's employees and customers, were exposed to the hazardous fumes. Six people were transported to local hospitals. All complained of upper respiratory problems, like itchy eyes and coughing.

“Very mild at this point. A little burning, a little coughing, burning around the mouth and coughing that type of thing,” said Hammerstein.

There have been no reports of any life threatening injuries. Only the McDonald's restaurant was affected by the hazardous materials. No other businesses nearby were evacuated.

The McDonald's remained closed for two hours after the incident. It re-opened mid-afternoon Sunday, after health authorities determined it was safe to reenter the building.

A McDonald’s spokesperson who contacted ABC11 said some sort of smoke came from a hand dryer in one of their restrooms. The spokesperson said the dryer had some sort of dark residue on it that could potentially be linked to vandalism.

McDonald’s said a check of the ventilation system revealed that there wasn’t anything wrong with the system. The exact cause of the hazardous fumes has yet to be determined.

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