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One Dead and 10 Hospitalized After Chemical Incident at Buffalo Wild Wings

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One man died and 10 other people were hospitalized Thursday after a chemical reaction took place in the kitchen of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington, Massachusetts.

According to WCVB-TV, an employee was using a cleaning chemical called “Super 8” to clean the floor when he was overwhelmed by fumes and became sick.

The general manager of the restaurant rushed in to remove the chemical. He was overcome by the fumes, according to interim Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson.

The man was rushed to the city’s Lahey Hospital, where he later died. He had recently gotten married and had a newborn child.

Eight employees and two customers were admitted into the hospital, reporting symptoms of breathing difficulties, watery and runny eyes and shortness of breath, Patterson said in a news conference posted to Facebook by WHDH.

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Super 8 is designed for cleaning dishes and food-contact surfaces, according to manufacturers. A key ingredient of Super 8 is sodium hypochlorite, the main ingredient in bleach.

“We have been told that this is a common product used in floor cleaning,” Patterson said.

“It was just a reaction that led to this.”

Patrons of the restaurant were startled by the scene.

“We’re just sitting there and then all of a sudden we start smelling the — whatever it was, ammonia or whatever it smelled like — I’m sitting at the bar and all of a sudden the inside of my nose starts burning,” one customer told WHDH. “We see the employees, like the waitstaff, everybody just flee.”

“One of the things that went through my mind is we’re sitting there and what are we supposed to do?” another customer said. “Is everything OK? Should we even be breathing this air?”

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A hazmat team came in to meter the restaurant and has declared it safe, Patterson said in the news conference. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also notified.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this horrific accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation,” Buffalo Wild Wings said in a statement, according to WCVB. “Because the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to share any additional comment at this time.”

Grief counselors will be brought in for those affected by the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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