Chemical leak prompts evacuation at grocery store

Officials: Two people rushed to hospital

HOUSTON - A strange odor prompted officials to evacuate a busy southwest Houston grocery store Saturday.

Officials said at least two people were rushed to the hospital Saturday and hazardous materials crews were called in because of the smell at the Food Town on the West Sam Houston Parkway near Elmsworth.

"All of a sudden, the fire man came out and told everybody to just drop what you've got and get out of the store," said James Green, who was shopping at Food Town at the time.

Investigators said the smell left one of the store's employees unconscious and another with difficulty breathing. Officials said they had been working on refrigeration equipment on the second floor of the store.

"We have found an odor on the second floor in the back near some of their refrigeration. It's actually contained within a small portion of the building. The whole first floor is completely clear," said Deputy Chief Terry Stone with the Houston Fire Department.

Investigators said they kept everyone out of the store while they tried to figure out what caused the leak in the refrigeration.

One of the two people hospitalized was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, the other to Memorial Hermann Southwest. So far, no word on their condition.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.