Chemical spill at Norman, OK Walmart

Walmart hazmat

(KFOR)

NORMAN, Okla. – A local chemical spill is still a mystery after the Norman Fire Department said they couldn’t identify what was in the air that caused two people to go to the hospital.

Around 4 p.m. on Saturday, the fire department and hazmat team were called to the Walmart along Interstate Dr. and Main St.

One shopper said she heard an announcement to evacuate. As she was walking toward the exit, she couldn’t stop coughing and it scared her.

“I kind of looked around and saw some other people coughing,” said Christina Owen.

Owen was doing some Christmas shopping when she heard she had to get out of Walmart.

“I just caught the word evacuations, so I was like ‘Wait a minute, what’s going on?’ But nobody was moving,” she said.

Owen said the parking lot was flooded with shoppers, who seemed to be having the same issues she was.

“I noticed some people at the other entrance that had the ambulance were really coughing hard and seemed to be having some other kind of respiratory problems,” she said.

Debra Hightower said she didn’t smell anything in the air but was stopped at the door

“It wasn’t until I started to walk in that someone told me, ‘You can’t go in. They’re evacuating the store,’” Hightower said. “They think someone sprayed pepper spray in the ventilation system.”

News 4 was told the store was only evacuated temporarily until officials could try to figure out what was going on. After a sweep of the store, they decided it was safe to go back in.

Owen said she immediately called her doctor, since she’s pregnant, to make sure her baby wouldn’t be harmed. She and Hightower hope whatever was in the air wasn’t done intentionally.

“It does make you concerned. We take a risk every day when you step outside,” Hightower said.

“Nobody knows if it was an accident, if it was self-defense or if it was someone pulling a prank,” Owen said.

2 comments

  1. Pepper spray is my worry scenario, as illustrated in this article. Did the HAZMAT team utilized an APD 2000 to see if it indicated irritant? Other than the APD 2000 or a wet chemical diazo-based test, what methods are teams using to identify pepper spray?

    • Proper use of the ChemPro 100i would easily locate both the source of the irritant and possibly classify the vapor. Whether it was pepper spray or a spill of floor cleaner or whatever – the ChemPro 100i will FIND IT. I don’t know if they have one, however………

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