Breaking News Blog

Saturday, Jul 06 2013 07:38 PM

Costco evacuated after chemical leak

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

More than 300 customers were evacuated from the Rosedale Highway location of Costco at 4:54 p.m. Saturday after reports of a possible hazardous material release.

One person was sickened with what authorities called a "minor complaint." No one was hospitalized.

The Kern County Fire Department said employees reported a hissing sound coming from a two-inch pipe near the ceiling in the rear of the store.

Firefighters immediately evacuated the building as a precaution while the source and product released were identified.

An investigation found the pipe to be carrying a refrigerant to the frozen foods area. The flow of the product was stopped when safety equipment attached to the system recognized the sudden increase of flow form a leak, limiting the amount of refrigerant store patrons were exposed to.

Store maintenance crews initiated repairs, and Kern County Environmental Health gave permission to store officials to bring other employees back inside.

No one was transported by ambulance, and the store will remain closed until service workers finish repairing the broken pipe.

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