Police Believe Chemical Spill was "Intentional"

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 05/23 2014 06:44PM

Updated 05/23 2014 06:46PM

SWANTON, Vt.- New details in the chemical spill at Tractor Supply store in Swanton, VT. We are slowly learning more about what Vermont State Police suspect was an 'intentional' act.

It happened Thursday afternoon and the store re-opened Friday morning; but police still don't know who was behind the scare.

Police were called in just before 2 P.M to a chemical spill that sent five employees to the hospital.

“It’s not presenting that it was accidental; it’s presenting as an intentional act,” said Lt. Tom Hango, with the Vermont State Police.

The five employees who inhaled the toxic fumes were treated and released. While police won't say which chemicals were used they will say it appears two products, taken from different areas within the store were mixed together in a container.  All of this happened in the part of the store that is accessible to the public.  Once the employees located the 'spill' police say they took quick action.

“They made an effort to get the stuff into the back area of the store and then eventually out onto the loading dock area, out of the store. They obviously came into closer contact with the chemicals and then took precautionary measures to go over and get checked out,” said Hango.

The Vermont Hazmat Team was called in to stabilize the scene and figure out which chemicals were used.

“In this particular incident we had some idea based on reports from the scene and also it made sense in terms of the symptomology of the patient,” said Chief Chris Herrick, with the VT Hazmat Team.

Herrick says it took his crew more than two hours to isolate the chemicals and give police the 'okay' that it was safe to re-enter the store. He says both of the chemicals used are well known to the public but the toxic mixture might not be.

“If you are asking me is it common knowledge that when you mix these two this is what you will get, I don’t think it is,” said Herrick.

Police are looking for the public's help and want to speak with anyone who was inside the store Thursday afternoon. 

We reached out to Tractor Supply’s corporate office and received the following written statement:

Tractor Supply Company places the highest priority on our commitment to provide a safe workplace for our team members and a safe shopping environment for our customers. We are currently working with the local authorities to complete a comprehensive investigation of the incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.
Thank you for your understanding.
Thank you,
Rob Hoskins
Tractor Supply Company
Media Relations

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