Hazmat Incident at Shaw's Unit Sickens 10

WESTERLY, R.I. -- Ten people at a Shaw's Supermarket were treated for skin and eye irritation yesterday morning after the store was evacuated by in response to the mystery ailment.

Hazmat teams sanitized the checkout area and set up twp decontamination showers, but the cause of the problem was not disclosed, according to local press reports. Local authorities gave the store permission to reopen for business at 2:15 p.m. the same day.

All 10 of the people affected were employees in the checkout area. They were decontaminated at the scene, taken to the hospital, and all later released. Meanwhile shoppers and other employees were isolated as the Hazmat team investigated.

"The safety of our associates and customers is very important to Shaw's," said a chain spokesman in a statement. "We will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with the local authorities, including the Westerly Fire Department."

At the scene was the state's Department of Environmental Management Hazardous Materials team, as well as fire and rescue trucks from Westerly and nearby towns.

"The entry level team has found no compounds inside or chemicals inside that would cause an issue. Everything was negative," Westerly Fire Chief David Sayles told NBC 10 new in Providence, R.I.

The team also inspected the HVAC and gas systems to determine whether Freon or natural gas was the cause. Freon is known to cause skin and eye irritations.

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