Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Fumes Send 17 Shoppers to Hospital
Seventeen shoppers at a Valencia department store were hospitalized Saturday because of noxious fumes of undetermined origin, authorities said.
The fumes caused the evacuation of the Robinsons-May store in the Valencia Town Center at about 2:45 p.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher Charlotte Kramer said.
The conditions of those hospitalized were not immediately known, but the respiratory problems are not believed to be life-threatening, Kramer said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Gibson of the Santa Clarita station said a preliminary investigation by a hazardous materials unit had determined that the fumes might have been caused by a strong mixture of cleaning fluid or the use of a pepper spray device.
If the cause is determined to have been intentional, Gibson said, the Sheriff’s Department will investigate.
More than 200 people were evacuated from the store after shoppers began complaining about a strong odor, Kramer said. The store remained closed Saturday evening.