MANATEE — Six people were hospitalized Monday after they inhaled fumes from an unidentified chemical at the Goodwill Manasota building, 7501 15th Street E. in Manatee County.
The chemical agent, possibly pepper spray, caused respiratory and eye irritation, according to a report from the Manatee County Department of Public Safety, which sent a Hazmat team.
Even though one Goodwill employee and four customers were sent to area hospitals for evaluation, 12 were evaluated by Manatee County Emergency Medical Service, the report states.
There was some speculation by employees that the chemical might have been pepper spray that was activated, but that has not been confirmed, the report says.
The incident took place in the “barn,” located to the rear of the facility.
Surveillance cameras on site will be evaluated, according to the report.
Since people were evacuated and not permitted to get near their own vehicles, two county transit buses were brought to the scene to get people out of the heat.
Hazmat and fire personnel cleared the building and deemed it safe to re-enter about an hour later.