Bear repellent sickens more than 50 Amazon employees in NJ warehouse

Amazon warehouse workers hospitalized in bear repellent incident

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (KYW/CNN) - Work inside an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey came to a halt Wednesday as paramedics treated dozens of sick employees.

Workers evacuated the Mercer county building after a can of bear repellent leaked fumes on the third floor of the south wing, just before 9 a.m.

Officials say several people reported they could not breathe properly, or they had burning in their eyes and throats.

In all, 24 people went to the hospital. One of them was in critical condition.

It turns out an automated machine accidentally punctured the can of bear repellent.

Workers say in the years they've worked there nothing like this has ever happened.

"Amazon is really big on safety and everything. They're really, they always mention every day about safety, safety, safety. So yeah it is a big deal, said Joe, an Amazon employee.

Amazon released a statement in part saying: "The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to a safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated."

The fire department has since declared the building safe.

Officials say the person critically injured is expected to be okay.

Health officials are expected to re-inspect the facility by Thursday morning.

Amazon says all the employees impacted by the incident "have been or are expected to be released from the hospital in the next 24 hours."

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