Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mysterious Gassing at Shaw's

Last night my roommates and I, enjoying a stay-at-home evening, were unsettled by the large number of sirens we heard from emergency vehicles throughout the evening. Upon watching the early news this morning, I found out why.

According to the news, a mysterious airborne substance caused dozens of people to be evacuated from the Mill Creek shopping center's Shaw's grocery store last night, complaining of a strange taste in their throats, a tightness in their chests, and with some victims even vomiting. The events occurred around 6:30 or 6:45pm.

Emergency crews from nearby towns reported to the scene en masse, and credited recent emergency exercises that accustomed them to working across town lines with each other with the success and immediate cooperation that occured on site. According to WGME News 13, ambulances responded from as far away as Freeport.

Coverage of the incident online:
WMTW-8 (most extensive)

While initially it was thought that the probably cause was a leak from the refrigeration system (i.e., freon or another chemical), that has since been ruled out. None of the news outlets can say what exactly the gas was from, though investigators continue to center their search on the store's heating and cooling ventilation system. The store is reopened for business as of this morning.

WMTW News 8 interviewed one of the victims, Michelle Bento, who told them, "Just the back of my throat was burning, and the sensation. And I was short of breath, and my son, he was the same way. And when he got outside, he started vomiting, and that's when they grabbed us and brought us, and we went to Maine Med."

By the time of the interview, Bento's son was bouncing around in back of her, grinning at the camera, so it seems like they both thankfully made a full recovery, as had the remainder of the victims who had been transported to local hospitals. According to News 8, "A spokeswoman and Maine Medical Center told News 8 that the hospital treated 37 patients for complaints of nausea, vomiting and burning throats. Officials at Mercy Hospital said they treated about seven patients, and another two were transported to the Brighton Rehabilitation Hospital."

1 comment:

Monkey said...

Brian happened to be in the Hannaford at 7PM and when he came home he said, "I've never seen it so crowded!"

Later that night, they put an emergency scroll on the TV about the Shaws mishap. Such excitment!