Dec. 5 (UPI) — Amazon warehouse workers became sickened by fumes from an apparent bear repellent at its fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., on Wednesday morning leaving one in critical condition and more than 50 others to be treated.
Workers called firefighters to the facility around 8:50 a.m. Paramedics treated most of the employees at the scene with 24 needed extra care at local hospitals, WCAU-TV in Philadelphia reported.
Most people affected by the fumes complained about difficulty breathing and a burning throat.
Authorities said bear repellent fell off one of the shelves causing it to be discharged, but it was contained to the third floor of the building’s south end.
John Nalbone, a Robbinsville spokesman, said emergency personnel transported 24 to five local hospitals, one in critical condition, NJ Advance Media reported. No information was given on the conditions of others needing hospitalization.
Amazon confirmed the spread of strong fumes inside the facility and added that it was conducting its own investigation.
“The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to a safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated on site,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. “As a precaution, some employees have been transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment.”
The Robbinsville fulfillment facility opened in 2014 employing 3,000 fulltime employees. In September, Amazon announced it was adding 1,100 part-time jobs along with a sorting center where packages for customers would be sorted by ZIP code in order to speed up the delivery process, WKXW-FM.