BURLINGTON, Mass. – A Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings worker died and nearly a dozen people were hospitalized after they were exposed to a chemical inside the restaurant Thursday evening.
Firefighters arrived around 5:30 p.m. and found the worker complaining of nausea, likely from inhaling fumes in the kitchen area. The incident prompted a Tier 1 hazardous material response and firefighters evacuated the building.
The deadly substance was described as a “strong cleaning agent,” according to a statement from John M. Guilfoil, a spokesman for the Burlington Fire Department.
The unidentified male worker was in serious condition when he was rushed to Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, where he later died, according to fire officials. Ten other people, including customers and workers, sought treatment for difficulty breathing and a burning sensation in the eyes.
“We’re just sitting there and then all of a sudden we start smelling the whatever it was, ammonia or whatever it smelled like, and all of a sudden the inside of my nose starts burning,” a patron told WHDH. “We see the employees, like the waitstaff, everybody just flee.”
A state hazardous materials team responded around 9:30 p.m. as authorities worked to identify the chemical threat.
“Anyone who was in the restaurant at the time and believes they may be impacted by the incident should seek medical treatment immediately,” the fire department said.
Buffalo Wild Wings gave the following statement to WHDH:
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this horrific accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation.”