Walmart reopens Whitfield Drive location after refrigerant system repairs

5:53 p.m. update

A Columbus Walmart Supercenter store has reopened and four employees have been medically cleared following a small Freon leak at the Whitfield Drive store, said Walmart Loss Prevention representatives.

First responders were called to the store at approximately 11:34 a.m. after four employees said that they had discovered a refrigerant leak coming from one of the refrigerated stockrooms coolers. Walmart officials said that the employees were sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure and the store at 735 Whitfield Drive was closed to ensure the safety of customers and Walmart employees.

According to Walmart Management, the store reopened at approximately 4:30 p.m. after the refrigerant system was repaired.


2:05 P.M. UPDATE

The Whitfield Drive Walmart Supercenter is temporarily closed after four employees reported  possible Freon leak exposure.

At approximately 11:34 a.m., Columbus firefighters were called to the Walmart Supercenter, 734 Whitfield Drive, for a report of four employees who reported they had been exposed to a Freon gas leak in the area of the storeroom refrigerator/freezer, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

This area was not accessible by the public. Columbus firefighters and emergency medical technicians from Columbus Regional Heath assessed the four employees who were later transported to the hospital out of precaution. Two were transported via ambulance and two were reported to have been transported by privately owned vehicles. According to paramedics at the scene, the four employees did not present with any apparent life-threatening symptoms.

Columbus firefighters inspected the area where the leak was reported and found no evidence of an active Freon leak. Firefighters also spoke with store maintenance staff who reviewed the alarm activity for the refrigerant systems. A review of the system alarms and monitoring devices indicated that the system was operating normally.

Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Sieverding spoke with store management who advised the fire department incident command that the store would be closed until a full inspection of the store’s refrigerant system could take place. No timeline was provided to firefighters on the reopening of the store.

Agencies that assisted at the scene include the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Regional Health EMS and the Bartholomew County Operations 9-1-1 Dispatch Center.



COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus Fire Department was called to the Walmart in Columbus Friday after a report of possible exposure to a hazardous material, firefighters said.

Columbus firefighters did not find any hazardous material leak, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

Store officials were investigating a possible freon leak, according to firefighters, but investigators did not find evidence of it, Wilson said.

The Walmart has closed temporarily while store officials conduct a system check of the facility, according to the fire department.

This story will be updated.