WAKEFIELD — Deputy Chief Thomas Purcell reports that the Wakefield Fire Department responded to an incident at a produce distribution company earlier today.
At approximately 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23 the Wakefield Fire Department received a call from Wakefield Police to respond to a medical emergency at 96 Audubon Road, site of the Produce Connection.
Upon arrival first responders provided care to a 41-year-old female who had passed out. The patient was outside of the building surrounded by several co-workers. The co-workers stated the patient had complained of smelling an “odor” prior to passing out, and when questioned by medics on scene it was learned there may have been a leak or problem with equipment at the site an hour or so prior.
Companies investigated the interior of the facility and evacuated the employees of the business to the exterior parking lot. A Tier 1 HazMat response was requested of the state Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Response Team by the Shift Commander in order to assess and evaluate the situation.
A unified command and staging area was set up in the parking area consisting of fire and EMS companies.
Equipment in the building was shut down and HazMat crews arrived on scene and subsequently entered the building. No leak was discovered and all readings in the facility were normal in regard to oxygen levels with no chemical readings found.
The odor is believed to have originated from equipment that distributes antimicrobial agents and water used for washing fruits and vegetables.
In total first responders evaluated nine individuals on scene, and three were transported to area hospitals for further evaluation.
The Wakefield Fire Department was assisted at the scene by crews from Cataldo Ambulance and the state Hazardous Materials Response Team, while firefighters from the Reading, Stoneham and Lynnfield Fire Departments provided station coverage. Wakefield Police assisted with traffic control.
All companies were cleared from the scene by approximately 3 p.m.