Costco employee’s mishap causes gas leak, evacuation

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Four people were hospitalized Sunday afternoon when a toxic gas leaked into a Chula Vista Costco store, prompting an evacuation, according to authorities.

A forklift being driven by a store employee punctured a pipe containing refrigerant for the store's refrigerators and freezers shortly after 2:30 p.m., sending a plume of toxic fumes into the building at 895 E. H St., Chula Vista Deputy Fire Chief Harry Mun said.

Firefighters evacuated employees and customers from the building, sending them at least 300 feet away and ordered the store to be closed for the rest of the day, Mun said.

CostcoTwo people were released after being seen by paramedics and three others were still being evaluated at the scene, Mun said. The two patients who were sent to a hospital were in a mild status, Mun said.

Refrigerant is an irritant that can cause someone who inhales too much of it to become light headed, dizzy or nauseous, according to Mun.

The store was expected to open as scheduled Monday.

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