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Officials Address Evacuation at Frederick Shopping Center

“These types of calls are very difficult for the fire department, you know, often when we get called to a fire, we can see the flame. At a medical emergency, we can treat a patient, but when you're called to someone smelling an odor you have to qualify what that is,” said Brown.
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Officials were called to the Wegmans supermarket Wednesday and made the decision to evacuate the supermarket after complaints of an odor inside.

Fire officials say the odor that customers and employees were complaining about smelled like bleach.

“The odor was what some people described as what you would smell when you opened a bottle of bleach,” said Douglas Brown of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services.

Officials say they’ve received complaints about that odor before. When they arrived on the scene people complained of flu like symptoms, and that’s when the decision was made to evacuate both the Wegmans, and the Marshalls next door.

“These types of calls are very difficult for the fire department, you know, often when we get called to a fire, we can see the flame. At a medical emergency, we can treat a patient, but when you're called to someone smelling an odor you have to qualify what that is,” said Brown.

Officials metered the supermarket twice, and say while they found nothing; they stand by the decision to make the evacuation. It closed down the area for nearly two hours, and officials say they applaud the supermarket manager for taking precautions.

“We did meter, everything from the basic thing you hear of, Carbon Monoxide, to one of the things we checked for in Wegmans was Ammonia. They have a lot of refrigerators and Ammonia is a quite popular agent to keep things cold,” said Brown.

Other local business owners say the entire parking lot area near Wegmans was closed off and filled with police cars and fire trucks. They say it made for quite the scare, but fire officials say it's always better to be safe, than sorry.

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