1 dead from fumes at Pooler McDonald's

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011 10:58 AM
Last updated 7:46 PM
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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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dorisday
0
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dorisday 09/08/11 - 11:02 am
0
0
Wow, very sad. I see a major

Wow, very sad. I see a major lawsuit coming!

Craig Spinks
819
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Craig Spinks 09/08/11 - 11:30 am
0
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Don't mix Clorox and ammonia.

Don't mix Clorox and ammonia.

mudslinger4721
10
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mudslinger4721 09/08/11 - 12:52 pm
0
0
Wow! Wonder how mcdonalds

Wow! Wonder how mcdonalds will defend this. Very sad.

seenitB4
132307
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seenitB4 09/08/11 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Who would ever dream that

Who would ever dream that going to the restroom at McDonalds would kill you...

seenitB4
132307
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seenitB4 09/08/11 - 01:14 pm
0
0
I hope we find out what they

I hope we find out what they used in that bathroom.

Little Lamb
57506
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Little Lamb 09/08/11 - 01:38 pm
0
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Don't hold your breath,

Don't hold your breath, SeenIt. On second thought, it would have been good if those entering the bathroom had held their breath.

Craig Spinks' post up above is entirely plausible.

Cassandra Harris
-1
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Cassandra Harris 09/08/11 - 01:47 pm
0
0
I have been in a couple

I have been in a couple situations where the chemical smell in a public bathroom is overwhelming and feels dangerous. I did not enter, but sought out management. Hint, if when you open the door your eyes water, you get a burning sensation in your eyes, nose, throat and breathing passages, feel dizzy from the smell, don't enter.

Lamb, Craig could be right, but in that situation it's not likely. Many commercial businesses use highly concentrated cleaners (saves space and cost efficient). It is likely that the person cleaning the bathroom had not been trained properly and had used the cleaner full strength.

saywhatagain
481
Points
saywhatagain 09/08/11 - 03:00 pm
0
0
I could be completely wrong,

I could be completely wrong, but my guess is they mixed two cleaning solutions together....one containing ammonia and the other chlorox. Separately, they are wonderful disinfectant/cleaning agents, but when mixed together, deadly chlorine gas is released into the air.

Jake
38050
Points
Jake 09/08/11 - 05:52 pm
0
0
Their chow is toxic enough

Their chow is toxic enough and now this.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/08/11 - 06:38 pm
0
0
my money says saywhatagain

my money says saywhatagain has it right. If not, it was a deliberate act by a so called prankster. (which is a stretch)

Willow Bailey
20619
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Willow Bailey 09/08/11 - 10:36 pm
0
0
Vito45, I think the identity

Vito45, I think the identity of the lethal cleaning agent could have a lot to do with whether the restaurant is owned by the McDonald's Corporation or if it is franchised. Makes sense that if it is corporate, it could have been one chemical inappropriately mixed or applied, but if it were franchised more likely that it was the deadly combination of household Clorox and ammonia.
The person who cleaned the restroom should have been greatly affected. The story lacks some detail. Those two agents should really not be allowed to be stored in public places. I wonder if the Health Dept. checks for this. Never mix two cleaners or use more than one at the same time. This was my first chemistry lesson, by my mother when I was 6 years old. New lesson, enter public restrooms cautiously.

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