By Juli McDonald

CRANSTON (CBS) – Fourteen firefighters were rushed to the hospital after being exposed to chemicals in Cranston, Rhode Island Monday night.

What started as a small fire at a chemical distribution company, triggered a major hazmat response involving firefighters from towns away.

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Firefighters at hazmat incident in Cranston, RI (WBZ-TV)

“It became quite hazardous when we found out there were chemicals that had been disturbed and containers that had been broken or breached,” said Cranston Fire Chief William McKenna.

McKenna says some of those stored chemicals reacted to water; others mixed with each other. Fourteen firefighters who were first exposed have been taken to the hospital.

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“One had slight difficulty breathing and the rest are just being monitored,” McKenna said.

Firefighters at hazmat incident in Cranston, RI (WBZ-TV)

Fire crews first sheltered in place while the air quality was tested outside. When they knew it was safe, surrounding buildings – including a daycare – were evacuated.

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“I think this fire shows just how dangerous of situations our firefighters can encounter,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. “Our thoughts are with all those injured firefighters that responded to this call.”

Juli McDonald