1 dead, 8 injured after chemical incident at Buffalo Wild Wings

Clay Curtis
November 8, 2019

One man was killed and a further 10 were sent to hospital after chemicals within cleaning products mixed and created toxic fumes.

On Wednesday, staff at a Buffalo Wild Wings in a strip mall in Naperville, Illinois, ordered a mostly African American group of customers to switch tables because another patron did not want to sit next to black people.

A worker, intending to clean the kitchen floor, put asanitizercalled "Super 8" - a product with sodium hypochlorite, which itself is a main component of bleach- on the floor, Patterson said. Four or five of them were held overnight, according to Burlington assistant fire chief Michael Patterson.

A statement released by a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson read in part: "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". Unbeknownst to the employee, an acid-based cleaning agent had previously spilled in the area where he was using the Super 8, according to Patterson.

The reaction was so strong, however, that customers in the dining areas soon started breathing in the chemicals.

Firefighters were called, and responders found the second employee suffering from nausea outside.

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Ryan Baldera, 32, was the restaurant's general manager.

"That's when he was exposed to it". When the worker inadvertently mixed the two products with a push broom, the mixture turned green and bubbled, becoming a unsafe toxic substance, Patterson says. Overcome, the manager also left the building. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died. "We knew the guy was in trouble".

Anyone who was in the restaurant and thinks they may have been impacted by the mixture is urged to seek medical treatment.

Although the compound remains in widespread use, it is among the most unsafe compounds as it rapidly releases chlorine and can mix easily with other chemicals to create toxic fumes. At least four people were kept in the hospital overnight for observation.

A state hazardous materials team responded around 9:30 p.m.as authorities worked to identify the chemical threat. It will then be turned over to the management who will be responsible for cleaning the building to ensure it is safe, Patterson said.

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