WESTWOOD (CBS) — An accidental discharge of a can of mace on a keychain inside Frugal Fannie’s sent 12 people to the hospital Monday afternoon.
Employees and shoppers could be seen streaming out of the store off Route 1 just after 2 p.m., while numerous fire trucks and ambulances waited outside.
“We were in the dressing room trying clothes on and they just came over the intercom telling everybody to leave,” said Claudia Belluscio, who was shopping at the time. “We had to evacuate the building cause everybody started coughing and we just ran out.”
Westwood Fire Chief John Deckers told WBZ-TV 11 people inside the store and a firefighter were hospitalized because they were coughing and had difficulty breathing.
“When we got here, the canister was given to one of our lieutenants, who was overcome at the time with a chemical that was coming out,” Deckers said.
A store manager told WBZ-TV eight of those hospitalized were employees and are expected to recover. It’s unclear just how many people were evacuated, but investigators said the incident is not suspicious.
“I think it truly was accidental,” Fire Chief John Deckers said. “Someone didn’t realize what it was and ended up discharging it.”
The store was re-opened around 3:30 Monday afternoon.