24 Amazon Employees Hospitalized After Can of Bear Spray Explodes at Fulfillment Center

Gina Martinez

Two dozen workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey were sent to the hospital – one in critical condition – after a machine punctured an aerosol canister of bear repellent Wednesday.

The incident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township, outside of Trenton. Township spokesperson John Nalbone tells TIME that employees reported having trouble breathing and felt burning sensations in their eyes and throat.

Nalbone says emergency crews responded to a call that 54 employees were experiencing symptoms. Of those, 24 were taken to the hospital. One is in critical condition in the ICU, but expected to have “a positive outcome.”

According to Nalbone, an automated machine punctured a 9-ounce can of the bear spray, which contains highly concentrated capsaicin that is meant to repel aggressive bears up to 30 feet away.

Multiple brands of bear spray are available for sale on Amazon’s site.

Amazon confirmed that a damaged canister caused the problem.