LONGMONT, Colo. - At approximately 12:40 p.m., the Longmont Fire Department, Longmont Fire HAZMAT Team and Longmont Police Department responded to the Oskar Blues restaurant on a chemical exposure to employees and restaurant patrons.
Oscar Blues is located at 1555 S. Hover Rd.
At least 24 people reported an exposure and were decontaminated. Seventeen of those were ted to the Longmont United Hospital in Longmont and Good Sam Hospital in Lafayette. Their symptoms included respiratory irritation, eye irritation and vomiting.
All of those affected were employees of the restaurant.
Several hours later, Fire Chief Jerrod Vanlandingham issued the following:
"After further investigation, definitive determination is not possible with the equipment of the longmont fire hazmat team. We were able to rule out that this was a gas caused by the refrigerating system. Our best guess is that this is a result of a defective 200 gallon water heater. The hot water heater was found to be malfunctioning causing it to attempt to light off over and over. We think the exhaust which contains products of incomplete combustion were being recirculated through a nearby evaporative cooler right above the fryer area where the employees had been working."