Hazmat incident at packaging plant leaves 52 hospitalized

LEHIGH COUNTY, PA – A hazmat incident led to the hospitalization of 52 individuals from a pharmaceutical packaging firm in southeast Pennsylvania on Friday afternoon, Upper Macungie Township Police Department’s Lt. Pete Nickischer has confirmed.

The incident occurred at Sharp Corporation, located on Keebler Way. Authorities were alerted to the presence of a chemical odor within the facility around midday, with several employees reporting symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and vomiting.

Emergency response teams, including Fire, EMS, and police personnel, arrived on the scene promptly, with added support from Lehigh County Special Operations. Despite their rapid response, hazmat crews are still striving to establish the cause of the workers’ ailments.

As relayed by spokesperson Brian Downs, Lehigh Valley Health Network responded to the incident by admitting around 30 patients across two of its hospitals. He noted that several patients exhibited minor symptoms and that they were continuing to undergo tests and monitoring.

Some patients reported symptoms such as headaches and hoarseness of voice, but not all demonstrated visible symptoms.

St. Luke’s University Health Network, another local health facility, reported receiving a total of 22 individuals from the incident at its Allentown hospital, all of whom have been deemed stable, according to spokesperson Sam Kennedy. He declared that all the admitted individuals would be discharged.

In the meantime, the Sharp Corporation building has been deemed safe and patrons are being allowed back in. However, Lt. Nickischer conveyed that investigators haven’t yet determined the cause of the incident.