New Jersey Amazon workers hospitalized after bear repellent releases fumes

ROBBINSVILLE, New Jersey -- Several employees of an Amazon warehouse in Mercer County have been sickened due to fumes, authorities say.

Fire crews were called around 9 a.m. Wednesday to the fulfillment center located at 50 New Canton Way in Robbinsville.

Authorities say 24 workers were taken to the hospital, at least one of them in critical condition, after bear repellent fell off a shelf and released fumes.

Many others were treated on scene, with most people reporting difficulty breathing and/or burning in the throat.

Seven ambulances were called to the scene.

The discharge was contained to the third floor of the building's south end and was apparently caused when an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican.

Hundreds of workers are normally inside the building during work days.

Amazon released the following statement:

"All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours. The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway. We'd like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today's incident."

The warehouse has since been given the all clear.

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