A fire suppression system at a convenience store in Deep River sent several customers to a local clinic.
It happened at the Cumberland Farms at 177 Main St., shutting down the center of town.
Route 154 is closed between Union Street and River Street. The closure, according to the Department of Transportation, is expected to last 12 hours or less.
The DOT was telling drivers to take Route 154 north to Union Street North, to Route 80 East and then back onto Route 154 north. Southbound detour is as follows. Take right onto Route 80, left onto Union St and then merge back with Route 154 south.
Dispatchers said the outside fire suppression system discharged at the gas pumps.The alarm causes a foam chemical to be released.
Some people at the gas station inhaled the fumes and chemicals associated with the system.
Four people had to be transported to a shoreline clinic, according to dispatchers.
"The substance that had fallen, it's a little bit of a breezy day so it's blown a little towards the northeast so, we've cautioned taped off the whole area with instructions from DEEP," said Deep River Fire Chief Tim Lee.
"It will cause respiratory irritation and that's probably being part of the transport issue with the patients, we are more concerned about the cleanup of it to make sure we get it all up and it doesn't get it any water bodies so that we don't have any problems with any of the aquatic life," said Rich Scalori, of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Region 4 schools were briefly in a shelter in place mode at Deep River Elementary School from between 1:15 p.m. and 1:50 p.m., meaning that no one was allowed in or out of the building as a precaution.
The superintendent told Eyewitness News that the students had indoor recess, but instruction continued as usual with normal indoor activities for the rest of the day.
Students dismissed on time.
Parents were told to pick up their children who are typically walkers.
In a statement, Cumberland Farms said "The fire suppression system at the Cumberland Farms store at 177 Main Street in Deep River, Connecticut, malfunctioned this afternoon. Although the cause of the malfunction has yet to be determined, it has been confirmed that no fire took place. A few customers who were pumping gas at the time were taken to the hospital as a precaution. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this has caused to the community and to our customers. The store and gas pumps will remain closed until the area is cleared and a Fire Department inspection is complete."
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