Hydrogen Cyanide Leak At Walgreens South Hospitalizes Six People

A security perimeter has been set-up around Walgreens South in the City of Cullman. The location is at the southeast corner of Highway 31 and Cherokee Avenue SW.

Rescue personnel from Cullman Fire Rescue have verified 5 ppm of Hydrogen Cyanide inside the building. Six people have developed symptoms consistent with Hydrogen Cyanide toxicity. Four of those affected are non-rescue personnel; two are emergency responders.

All affected parties have been transported to Cullman Regional by medical teams from Cullman EMS for further evaluation and treatment. Dr. Scott Warner is heading up that medical effort.

The source of the toxic agent has been isolated by environmental teams from Cullman Fire Rescue as coming from an in-store refrigerator cooler inside the building.

A heating, air conditioning, and ventilation company has just arrived on the scene; they are seeking to pinpoint the exact location of the leakage, and then permanently repair the problem.

Cullman Fire Rescue Division Chief Dareen People indicates the building has been evacuated. Chief Peeples could not comment on the severity of the Hydrogen Cyanide trauma of those succumbed by symptoms.

A Regional Manager from Walgreens is now at the address representing the establishment.

The store has been closed for business for the rest of the night.


According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, hydrogen cyanide is a colorless or pale-blue liquid at room temperature. It is very volatile, readily producing flammable and toxic concentrations at room temperature.

Hydrogen cyanide gas mixes well with air, and explosive mixtures are easily formed.

Hydrogen cyanide has a distinctive bitter almond odor, but some individuals cannot detect, and consequently, it may not provide adequate warning of hazardous concentrations.

Hydrogen cyanide is absorbed well by inhalation and can produce death within minutes. Substantial absorption can occur through the skin if vapor concentration is high or with direct contact with solutions, especially at high ambient temperatures and relative humidity. Exposure by any route may cause systemic effects.

Exposure to lower concentrations of hydrogen cyanide may produce eye irritation, headache, confusion, nausea, and vomiting followed in some cases by coma and death.


Hydrogen Cyanide Leak At Walgreens South Hospitalizes Six People


Staff Writers

The staff writers at Cullman Today are a collaborative group of citizen reporters sharing the writing of stories based upon their personal interests and work schedules.

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