“It does make you concerned,” Chemical spill at Walmart in Norman still a mystery

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NORMAN, Okla. - A local chemical spill is still a mystery after the Norman Fire Department said they couldn’t identify what was in the air that caused two people to go to the hospital.

Around 4 p.m. on Saturday, the fire department and hazmat team were called to the Walmart along Interstate Dr. and Main St.

One shopper said she heard an announcement to evacuate. As she was walking toward the exit, she couldn’t stop coughing and it scared her.

“I kind of looked around and saw some other people coughing,” said Christina Owen.

Owen was doing some Christmas shopping when she heard she had to get out of Walmart.

“I just caught the word evacuations, so I was like 'Wait a minute, what’s going on?' But, nobody was moving,” she said.

Owen said the parking lot was flooded with shoppers, who seemed to be having the same issues she was.

“I noticed some people at the other entrance that had the ambulance were really coughing hard and seemed to be having some other kind of respiratory problems,” she said.

Debra Hightower said she didn’t smell anything in the air but was stopped at the door

“It wasn’t until I started to walk in that someone told me 'You can’t go in. They’re evacuating the store,'” Hightower said. “They think someone sprayed pepper spray in the ventilation system.”

News 4 was told the store was only evacuated temporarily until officials could try to figure out what was going on. After a sweep of the store, they decided it was safe to go back in.

Owen said she immediately called her doctor, since she’s pregnant, to make sure her baby wouldn’t be harmed. She and Hightower hope whatever was in the air wasn’t done intentionally.

“It does make you concerned. We take a risk every day when you step outside,” Hightower said.

“Nobody knows if it was an accident, if it was self-defense or if it was someone pulling a prank,” Owen said.


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