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Amazon workers sickened after bear repellent discharges in warehouse

Officials said at least 20 people are being transported to a nearby hospital after inhaling fumes at an warehouse in Robbinsville Township, N.J.

Packages move along a conveyor belt at the fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, in June 2018.
Packages move along a conveyor belt at the fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, in June 2018.Read moreBess Adler / Bloomberg / Bess Adler

Dozens of workers at a sprawling Amazon warehouse in New Jersey have been sickened after an aerosol can containing bear repellent fell from a shelf, dispersing fumes into the air, officials said.

About 80 employees reported trouble breathing Wednesday morning inside the 1.3 million-square-foot facility in Robbinsville Township, less than 10 miles from Trenton, Robbinsville spokesman John Nalbone told The Washington Post. Nalbone said 10 people had been transported to a nearby hospital and 10 more were on the way.

Robert Wood Johnson Hospital told NBC affiliate WNBC that one person was admitted into the hospital's intensive care unit. The condition of the other patients was not immediately known.

Amazon said workers are being evaluated and sent to the hospital as needed.

"Today at our Robbinsville fulfillment center, a damaged aerosol can dispensed strong fumes in a contained area of the facility," Rachael Lighty, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement to The Washington Post. "The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to a safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated on-site. As a precaution, some employees have been transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment. We appreciate the swift response of our local responders."

( chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Nalbone, with Robbinsville Township, said someone called 911 at 8:50 a.m., reporting that the can of bear repellent had discharged on the third floor of the south wing of the warehouse.

He said the warehouse was not evacuated but that the area where was cleared.