Cleanup of spoiled food in office fridge sends 7 to hospital

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

SAN JOSE, Calif.— An office worker cleaning a fridge full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill.

Firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown San Jose on Tuesday, after the flagrant fumes prompted someone to call 911. A hazmat team was called in.

What they found was an unplugged refrigerator that had been crammed with moldy food.

Authorities say an enterprising office worker had decided to clean it out, placing the food in a conference room while using two cleaning chemicals to scrub down the mess. The mixture of old lunches and disinfectant caused 28 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea.

Authorities say the worker who cleaned the fridge didn't need treatment. She can't smell because of allergies.


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Ray Shapiro May 13, 2009 | 1:19 a.m.

I'm glad the Missourian shared this story with me. I had my windows open today and thought that smell was coming from my next door neighbor's cooking. Thanks for clearing up the source.
Also, thanks for the reminder. Trash day is coming up and I think I have some Chinese Food from April in the back of the fridge, somewhere.
You guys truly provide a public service.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken May 13, 2009 | 8:35 a.m.

It was crammed with moldy food or crammed with food that then became moldy?

Pretty irresponsible to put moldy food in a fridge. :P

(Report Comment)

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