‘Irritant complaints’ at RI medical supply company sends 20 employees to local hospitals

Twenty employees at a Rhode Island medical supply company were transported to area hospitals for “irritant complaints.”

Emergency crews from both Rhode Island and Massachusetts responded to Bio-Detek on Narragansett Park Drive in Pawtucket Thursday evening after a woman reported that she was having trouble breathing.

Firefighters said they had reason to believe that it was some type of chemical spill as several other individuals stated that they had irritation in their eyes, nose mouth, and/or throat, according to Cheif Goncalves. The company that owns the building said Friday that the source has not been found but a chemical spill has been ruled out.

Employees were evaluated at the scene complaining of sore throats, coughs and at least one person who vomited.

No major injuries have been reported.

Firefighters were sent inside the building to determine the source of, what they believe to be, an organic compound that has made these employees sick.

“The safety and health of our employees is our top priority,” said Elijah White, president of ZOLL Medical. “This building will remain closed to employees until we determine it is safe to return. Our thoughts are with our colleagues affected by this situation as we work with authorities to determine the cause.”

Employees returned to work on Friday.

No further details have been released.

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