Overwaitea Foods in Port Hardy was forced to close Friday morning when noxious fumes resulted in the evacuation of employees. The store reopened Friday shortly before 6 p.m.

Overwaitea reopens after evacuation, shutdown

PORT HARDY-Grocery store employees driven away by noxious fumes.

PORT HARDY—Overwaitea Foods reopened late Friday after being closed for most of the day when an offensive odour emanating from concrete adhesive forced evacuation of employees arriving to open the store.

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to the early morning call and determined an adhesive applied to concrete had reacted, creating a strong chemical odour. No injuries were reported, but employees were evacuated as a precaution and all doors were opened to vent the building.

The fire department is continuing to investigate the incident.

By Friday afternoon store management and employees were back in the building, but the store remained closed until welcoming customers back in shortly before 6 p.m.

Before that, customers who approached the store were met with an upturned table placed to block the open doors. It bore a sign stating, “Sorry we are closed till further notice!” A store employee was on site to direct those looking for fresh dairy products to try one of the local convenience markets.

The incident was limited to Overwaitea and did not appear to impact other businesses in Thunderbird Mall. Peoples Drug Mart next door was open, though employees did say they had to negotiate around a fire engine parked in front of their doors when they opened in the morning.

Store management referred questions about the incident to the company’s corporate office in Vancouver, but nobody there was available for comment when called.

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