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WEST BRIDGEWATER, Maine -- A recently remodeled Shaw's store in South Portland, Maine reopened yesterday morning after it was evacuated because more than 50 customers and associates reported suffering burning throats, difficulty breathing, and nausea, according to published reports. Investigators think that a malfunctioning heating and cooling system was responsible for the symptoms, for which those afflicted were treated at three area hospitals.
Most of the affected people felt better within an hour, officials said. No one appeared to be seriously ill.
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The Shaw's store, which originally opened in 1990, was evacuated at about 6:45 p.m. Monday by order of the manager, after customers and workers began experiencing the symptoms.
Shaw's said it was cooperating with local emergency workers to pinpoint the source of the symptoms.
In a different incident, a refrigerator leak led to the evacuation of a Pawtucket, R.I. Shaw's last week.
When contacted by Progressive Grocer, Shaw's responded in a statement: "The health and safety of our customers and associates is our No. 1 concern. Shaw's Directors of Safety and Quality Assurance were on site to work closely with local and state officials and maintenance personnel to ensure that the store was safe to open for business and serve our customers."