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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Electrical issue discovered after evacuation of Safeway on South Hill on Sunday

UPDATED: Sun., Jan. 31, 2021

Spokane fire trucks are seen at the Safeway store on 29th Avenue on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. Workers reported a strange chemical smell that prompted an evacuation Sunday morning.   (Rob Kauder / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane fire trucks are seen at the Safeway store on 29th Avenue on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. Workers reported a strange chemical smell that prompted an evacuation Sunday morning.  (Rob Kauder / The Spokesman-Review)

The Safeway on 29th Avenue on Spokane’s South Hill was evacuated at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday after customers and employees smelled an unknown chemical in the store. The smell was eventually determined to be an electrical issue. 

The Spokane Fire Department hazmat team was on scene as of 11 a.m. investigating the cause of the smell, said Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer. 

One person was taken to the hospital by private vehicle before first responders arrived, Schaeffer said. Their symptoms were temporary, Schaeffer said. 

A short time later atmosphere inside the building was determined to be safe and that the hazmat team tracked other possible sources of the chemical smell.

Ultimately, it was discovered the smell was due to an electrical issue. The building returned to normal operations a short time later, Schaeffer said.

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