Rotten Office Fridge Prompts Hazmat Visit

Stench empties San Jose AT&T building

In the future, they might want to leave cleaning out the fridge to the professionals.

Instead, a San Jose office worker presumably trying to do a good deed created a smell so noxious that firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown.

Just before noon Tuesday, firefighters and hazmat teams evacuated 325 people from the AT&T building because of the smell originating from the fridge.

28 people in the building suffered from vomiting and nausea, fire Capt. Barry Stallard said. Seven people were hospitalized.

According to Stallard, the saga began when an office worker opened a refrigerator that had been turned off "for some time," and took it upon themselves to clean it.

The employee couldn't smell the spreading stench because she had previously undergone nasal surgery for allergies, the Mercury News reported.

Oblivious to the stench, the employee moved the stinking contents to a conference room. Once in the conference room, another employee tried to help things by spraying a chemical cleaner in the air. "And that's when the party started," Stallard said.

The combination of rotted food and a chemical cleaner quickly created a noxious cocktail, office workers began feeling nauseous, and an employee called 911.

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