Freon leak at New Jersey Costco leads to 20 sick employees, triggers evacuation

A New Jersey Costco was evacuated Wednesday after a freon leak inside the store that sickened about 20 staff members, police say.

The Hazlet Township Police Department received a report from the store around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday about a leak of Freon, a gas used as a refrigerant in air conditioning, the department said in a press release.

Exposure to refrigerants, including freon, can cause dizziness and tremors, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The store opening was delayed and staff tried to air out the store.

Another call came to police from the store at 9:30 am about “approximately 20 employees complaining of headaches and nausea.”

Officers arrived at the scene and evacuated all personnel.

Several agencies were called in to assist on the scene, including the Monmouth County Hazmat Team and the Monmouth County EMS Task Force.

The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office said four people they were sent to a hospital and treated.

The store will be closed until further notice.

“We thank all our public safety partners for their swift response to this situation and wish all affected personnel a speedy recovery,” Hazlet Municipality Police said.

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