Store Evacuated After Malathion Jar Breaks

A Canyon Country hardware store was evacuated Sunday and one of its employees hospitalized after a jar containing a quart of malathion was knocked off its shelf and broke on the floor, authorities said.

The 30 shoppers in the Builders Emporium store at 19407 Soledad Canyon Road were evacuated when the liquid pesticide spilled about 2:45 p.m. Sunday, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ron Patterson. The store remained closed for the rest of the day and was scheduled to open as usual this morning, said Gary Kaplinger, the store's assistant manager.

The jar of malathion was knocked off its shelf inadvertently by a customer, said Mike Wronkowski, a second assistant store manager.

Store employees immediately neutralized the spilled liquid using other chemicals and placed the pesticide in double plastic bags, Patterson said.

Two cashiers working nearby told firefighters they felt ill after the spill, Patterson said. One of the cashiers, Robin Feldman, 29, of Canyon Country, asked to be taken by ambulance to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, where she was treated for exposure to chemical vapors and released at 4:45 p.m., a hospital spokeswoman said.

The other cashier said she didn't need to go to a hospital.

The 32-ounce jar of Ortho brand Malathion-50, intended to be sprayed on lawns, yields 192 gallons of insecticide when mixed with water.

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