POOLER — Ten people were taken to the hospital Wednesday after firefighters found two customers unconscious inside a bathroom and others struggling to breathe at a McDonald's restaurant, authorities said.
One of the customers found unconscious was in critical condition, Pooler Fire Chief Wade Simmons said.
A second person was also admitted to the hospital in nearby Savannah, while the other eight were treated and released, said Memorial University Medical Center spokeswoman Bryna Gordon.
Simmons said firefighters smelled an unusual odor, and the restaurant was evacuated. He said people were complaining of difficulty breathing.
At least 20 people, including three Pooler firefighters, were decontaminated by a hazardous materials team as a precaution, Simmons said. Authorities suspect cleaning chemicals in the restroom are to blame, but a specific cause had not been determined.
Firefighters ventilated the building and took air samples to make certain the restaurant was safe, Pooler Fire Capt. Scott Cribbs said Wednesday night.
A statement issued by McDonald's on behalf of franchisees John and Monique Palamccio said that the restaurant reopened after authorities deemed it safe.
"The safety of our customers and employees is always a priority," they said in the statement. "We wish everyone involved a speedy recovery."