Pepper Spray at San Mateo's Big 5 Sporting Goods Leads to Evacuations

The incident, which occurred Sunday, left more than a dozen people with watery eyes and scratchy throats.

A hazmat incident at Big 5 Sporting Goods in San Mateo on Sunday afternoon prompted multiple building evacuations and left more than a dozen people with watery eyes and scratchy throats, fire officials said Monday.

San Mateo police and fire personnel responded at about 1:45 p.m. to the Big 5 at 2825 S. El Camino Real and were told by management at least 15 people were suffering symptoms, including difficulty breathing, according to fire officials.

Four fire engines, one ladder trucks and the San Mateo County Hazardous Material team responded with 27 personnel.

Upon arrival, firefighters reported five to seven potential victims with medical complaints. Seven people were medically evaluated. No one was transported.

Both buildings on either side of the Big 5 Sporting Goods store were evacuated. The San Mateo County Hazardous Material Team entered and evaluated the air quality, and the building was deemed safe to occupy.

A spent pepper spray container was discovered in one of the aisles inside the store, according to fire officials.


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