Worker dead, 10 hospitalized after chemical incident at Burlington Buffalo Wild Wings

BURLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - One employee has died and at least 10 other people were hospitalized following a chemical incident at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington on Thursday, officials said.

Emergency crews responding to a reported chemical reaction in the kitchen area of the South Avenue restaurant just after 5:30 p.m. found a male employee who was suffering from nausea after he apparently breathed in the fumes of a powerful cleaning agent, according to Interim Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson.

The worker, whose name was not released, was rushed to Lahey Hospital, where he later died.

At a press conference, Patterson said an investigation determined the chemical was being mixed to be used as a floor cleaner and that the man who died was trying to get it out of the building after the person who mixed it became ill.

At least eight employees and two customers checked themselves into the hospital for symptoms that included difficulty breathing, burning eyes and shortness of breath.

“The patients are being treated and monitored,” Patterson said. “They were put on oxygen. I do not believe that anybody is in serious condition at this time.”

One customer recalled smelling the chemical before seeing the employees run out of the building.

“We’re just sitting there and then all of a sudden we start smelling the whatever it was, ammonia or whatever it smelled like, and all of a sudden the inside of my nose starts burning,” he said. “We see the employees, like the waitstaff, everybody just flee.”

Another customer, Michael Burnstein, said there was no communication between the employees and the customers about the incident.

“One of the things that went through my mind is we’re sitting there and what are we supposed to do? Is everything OK? Should we even be breathing this air,” he said.

A statement released by a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson read in part, “We are shocked and saddened to learn of this horrific accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation.”

Anyone who was in the restaurant and thinks they may have been impacted by the mixture is urged to seek medical treatment.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified.

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.

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