Naperville police: No evidence of hate crime in Buffalo Wild Wings incident

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2019

"The gentleman that passed away was an employee of Buffalo Wild Wings, who attempted to squeegee the product out of the building when he was overcome", Assistant Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson said Thursday.

The spokesperson did, however, send a statement the company initially released Thursday night, which said the chain is "shocked and saddened to learn of this tragic accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation". Baldera was the restaurant's general manager, and was not the employee who mixed the substances.

Patterson said Burlington Fire Department continues to investigate, however, he added that the restaurant was safe for re-entry as the fumes had cleared into the air.

Customers told CNN affiliate WHDH that they could smell a strong chemical odor, and people closest to the kitchen began coughing and moving outside.

"That's when he was exposed to it".

The man, who has not yet been named, was rushed to a hospital, where he later died. "It was probably an immediate reaction to the product", Patterson says. "We knew the guy was in trouble".

Two other employees and six patrons checked themselves into hospitals.

"Anyone who was in the restaurant at the time and believes they may be impacted by the incident should seek medical treatment immediately", the fire department said. At least four people were kept in the hospital overnight for observation.

The State Hazardous Materials Team responded and several team members have since entered the restaurant wearing specialized suits. The building was then turned over to restaurant management, which will be responsible for handling further cleaning, according to Patterson.

The risk of exposure to harmful chemicals is high for any worker whose job involves cleaning, Goldberg says. When the worker inadvertently mixed the two products with a push broom, the mixture turned green and bubbled, becoming a unsafe toxic substance, Patterson says.

"It is a common product", he told reporters. He also said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been informed of the incident and that local law enforcement will conduct an investigation. "Use paper towels with gloved hands".

Other reports by iNewsToday