20 employees hospitalized after hazmat incident at Pawtucket facility


PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Employees of a Pawtucket medical manufacturing facility were evacuated Thursday after several workers began to feel sick.

First responders were called to the Zoll Medical facility on Narragansett Drive for reports of a woman who was having difficulty breathing, according to Chief Tina Goncalves, Pawtucket’s acting public safety director.

Goncalves said the woman was evaluated on scene and first responders determined that an odor in the air was causing her symptoms.

It was later discovered that “some type of chemical spill” had occurred, Goncalves said, which caused several other employees to also experience symptoms. Many workers were reporting irritation in their eyes, noses, mouths and throats.

In a statement, Zoll Medical said 20 employees were transported to area hospitals and none of their symptoms were life-threatening.

President of Zoll Resuscitation Elijah White said all remaining employees were sent home around 6:30 p.m.

The firefighters were not able to determine the cause of the chemical spill. The R.I. Department of Environmental Management and a regional hazmat team are now inspecting the building.

“The safety and health of our employees is our top priority,” White said. “This building will remain closed until we determine it is safe to return. Our thoughts are with our colleagues affected by this situation.”

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