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Winchester Walmart back open after people exposed to ‘irritant’

An employee tells us workers and customers alike were evacuated from the building around 9 a.m.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:34 AM EDT
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WINCHESTER, Ky. (WKYT) - The Winchester Walmart is back open.

An employee tells us workers and customers alike were evacuated from the building around 9 a.m.

According to fire officials, an “irritant” of some sort, they’re not sure what yet, caused 32 people to have various symptoms, including skin irritation, scratchy throat, and coughing. We’re told all of them were checked out by EMS on scene and no one went to the hospital.

They haven’t found the source of the irritant, but they did isolate it to the store’s front entrance. Firefighters, along with HVAC workers and Walmart technicians, were able to eliminate freon as the cause.

Fire crews tell us the irritant has dissipated and they used fans to recirculate fresh air back into the building. They said Walmart can reopen at their own discretion, but we’re told store management was advised by the fire department to wait until Friday morning.

Walmart Media Relations released this statement to WKYT shortly after 3 p.m.:

There is nothing more important than the safety of our associates and customers. After being temporarily closed for emergency personnel to inspect our ventilation system, the store at 1859 Bypass Rd. has reopened.”

We’ll keep you updated.

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