Red Willow Western's hazardous materials response team straps down a drum that contains the chlorine bleach and ammonia from an incident Sunday afternoon at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in McCook, Nebraska.(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette) [Order this photo]
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook Fire Chief Mark Harpham is urging anyone who might have left the McCook Walmart immediately after a chemical incident Sunday afternoon to seek medical help if they experience symptoms like shortness of breath or vomiting.
Someone apparently mixed a gallon of ammonia and a gallon of chlorine bleach and spilled it, inside and near the middle and front of the store, creating chlorine gas that injured nine people, three seriously enough to be taken to Community Hospital by ambulance.
Law enforcement officials are investigating the incident. Harpham would say only that the person involved was not an employee and not a member of a cleaning crew who accidentally mixed the substances.
Members of the Red Willow Western hazmat team wore special suits and respirators/air packs to clean up the spill.
(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette)
Law enforcement was initially called for a disturbance.
All employees and customers were immediately evacuated and the building was ventilated.
At about 5:30 p.m., Harpham said that although there was still a slight chlorine odor in the store, air quality had been tested and was safe.
Members of McCook's fire department/ambulance treated nine in total for breathing difficulties, three of whom were transported to Community Hospital of McCook.(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette) [Order this photo]
The incident occurred sometime after 2 p.m. Sunday, and the store reopened about 5:30 p.m.