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Mystery odor forces shut down of shopping center. Six ill at Giant grocery store in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The Cabin John Plaza shopping center at Seven Locks Road and Tuckerman Lane is now open after parts of it were evacuated due to a possible hazardous situation this afternoon. Captain Oscar Garcia of Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service says that hazmat investigators have not been able to identify what made people sick inside the Giant food store.

Health officials joined firefighters in investigating the Giant and surrounding stores trying to determine the source of a smell reported by customers and workers.

Click the image for more aerial views of the scene.
Click the image for more aerial views of the scene.

The total number of people evaluated by firefighters and medics was 14. Six of them were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening symptoms. This included customers and Giant employees.

Store workers said they believed the problem was a Freon leak. The odor came suddenly and dissipated quickly. Captain Garcia says firefighters found no indication of leaking Freon, natural gas or other hazardous gas.

The fire department turned the store over to the health department. Health officials allowed the Giant to reopen at 4:30 PM about three hours after the incident began.

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