BURLINGTON — A Buffalo Wild Wings employee died and 10 other people were taken to the hospital Thursday night after being exposed to a cleaning agent in what authorities called a “serious hazmat material incident” at the restaurant.
The employee, a man, was trying to “squeegee” the chemical out of the kitchen area, when he apparently inhaled the substance and was taken to Lahey Hospital, where he died, Interim Fire Chief Michael Patterson said.
The cleaning agent, Super 8, contains a high concentrate of chlorine, Patterson said. He said it was unclear if that substance mixed with another chemical.
“It is a common product,” he told reporters at the scene.
The name, age, and hometown of the man who died was not released Thursday night. Patterson said he did not know what the man’s job was at the restaurant.
Ten other people, including two patrons, experienced other symptoms, including shortness of breath and runny eyes, and took themselves to the hospital, Patterson said.
Nine drove to nearby Lahey Hospital, while one person went to a hospital in Lowell, he said.
“I do not believe that any are in serious condition at this time,” Patterson said, speaking shortly before 10 p.m.
The accident occurred after an employee opened a bottle of the cleaner and was overcome with nausea, Patterson said.
That employee went outside for air. Another employee tried to remove the chemical from the area, before he became sick and later died, according to Patterson.
A statement from the restaurant said the company is ‘‘shocked and saddened’’ and is cooperating with the investigation, the Associated Press reported.
Firefighters responded around 5:35 p.m. to the restaurant across from the Burlington Mall for a report of a chemical reaction in the kitchen area, the Burlington Fire Department said in a statement.
The restaurant was immediately evacuated.
The incident drew six members of a state hazmat team to the scene. They donned suits and walked through the restaurant taking air quality readings from meters. The readings showed the restaurant was safe Thursday night, Patterson said.
Throughout the evening, there was a heavy police and fire presence at the scene. Some windows to the restaurant were open and at least two doors were propped open.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing. The restaurant was closed for the night.
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the incident, according to the fire department’s statement.Danny McDonald can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.