Trader Joe's in Annapolis evacuated for Freon leak; store later reopened

March 05, 2013|By Jim Joyner, The Baltimore Sun | By Jim Joyner, The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County Fire Department officials said a Freon leak Tuesday morning at the Trader Joe’s in Annapolis sent two people to the hospital and caused an evacuation of the store.

Two hours later, though, the store in the 100 block of Jennifer Road was deemed safe and was reopened, according to fire officials.

The incident was reported at about 10:45 a.m., according to fire department Division Chief Kevin Swindle. He said the first unit on the scene found three people suffering respiratory trouble, attributed to an “irritating odor,” he said.

A Hazmat unit and additional medical personnel were called, and it was determined that a Freon leak in a refrigeration line caused the odor, which sickened three people, Swindle said.

“It’s almost as if it’s a pepper spray,” Swindle said of the Freon gas. “It’s an irritating thing.”

Two people were taken to the Anne Arundel Medical Center; the third declined treatment, Swindle said.

The store was cleared of the odor, and was reopened.

“They are reoccupying (the store) as we speak,” Swindle said at 12:40 p.m.

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