1 dead from fumes at Pooler McDonald's

POOLER, Ga. -- One of the women pulled from the bathroom of a Pooler McDonald’s Wednesday died early Thursday at Memorial University Medical Center, according to Pooler Police Chief Wade Simmons.

Authorities have not released the name of the victim.

Nine people were hospitalized after becoming ill with respiratory problems in the McDonald’s located off U.S. 80 near Interstate 95.

Simmons said a toxic mix of chemicals used to clean the bathrooms likely was the cause.

Two women were found unconscious about noon in a bathroom of the restaurant, Simmons said. Firefighters had to give CPR to one of the women, whom Simmons said was listed in critical condition at Memorial University Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.

As of late Wednesday night, authorities hadn’t released the names of any of the victims. Simmons said three firefighters, five McDonald’s customers and one employee were sent to the hospital.

Firefighters were alerted to the fumes after a restaurant patron stayed in the bathroom for more than 10 minutes, Simmons said. Her husband got worried and asked a McDonald’s employee to check on her. The employee found her unconscious and called 911.

Firefighters pulled the two unconscious women out before getting sick themselves.

Simmons said the three firefighters who rescued the women were released from Memorial on Wednesday afternoon. The two women pulled from the bathroom remained hospitalized, he said. Simmons didn’t know the conditions on the other victims.

Pooler firefighters decontaminated all patrons and employees of the restaurant, setting up a tarp and stripping and spraying down sick people with fire hoses while Savannah Fire’s hazmat team was on its way to Pooler with decontamination showers.

Two people were treated for respiratory problems on the scene but didn’t want to be taken to the hospital, Simmons said.

“We weren’t exactly sure what it was,” Simmons said. “We decontaminated them and bagged their clothing, just to limit any possible risk.”

Simmons said victims were given white, disposable zip-up outfits after being decontaminated.

More than 60 firefighters and EMTs from Pooler Fire, Savannah Fire and Southside Fire/EMS were on the scene for about three hours.

“Everybody did excellent jobs,” Simmons said.

The restaurant re-opened late Wednesday afternoon.

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