Shortly after noon on Sunday, the Northwest Fire District paramedics were called to the McDonalds located at 8349 N. Cortaro, near Cortaro and Interstate 10 after receiving a 9-1-1 call about an ill employee.
The 19 year-old female had complained of difficulty breathing, light-headedness and being dizzy. Paramedics arrived and found her semi-conscious and she was treated and transported in serious condition to a local hospital.
During the course of her treatment, other employees had indicated to paramedics that they too were also feeling ill with similar symptoms including headaches, and feeling faint. Based on multiple patients with similar presentations, the crew called for the Northwest Fire Districts Hazardous Materials team. The store was evacuated of all employees and customers. After extensive air monitoring, the team was unable to detect any sources that would cause illness. Also noted by the crew was the fact that only employees were affected with similar complaints. No customers within the store had any complaints. Additional information from the store’s manager on duty also revealed that the kitchen area has been without air conditioning for up to a week as a result of mechanical issues. Based on all of the findings from the patients and information obtained by interviews, the hazardous materials crew along with several additional fire/paramedic crews determined that all 11 employees were suffering from heat related illness symptoms.
Three employees were transported by ground ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. A 19 year-old in serious condition who was the initial patient from the 9-1-1 call and two patients (42 and 45 year-old females) were in stable condition. The remaining 8 employee’s were treated at the scene and released.
Northwest Fire wants to remind everyone that temperatures will be extremely high over the next week. Everyday activities can lead to dehydration (not just hiking, biking and outdoor activities) and we encourage increased water intake throughout the day. Watch for early signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat related illness and take action early to correct symptoms.
Symptoms may include but are not limited to: Thirst, dizzy, lack of energy, headache, light-headedness, weakness, muscle aches or cramps, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, vision changes, passing out, unconsciousness, seizures.