NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Rescue crews took three people to the hospital Friday night after, officials said, several people reported a strong odor coming from a Home Depot in North Miami Beach.

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, several customers reported that the odor, described by some of them as toxic, was causing them to cough with a burning sensation.

Officials said they received the call at around 9:20 p.m., less than one hour before the store’s scheduled closing time.

One of the customers told 7News he fell ill just as he was ready to leave the store. “I went to the self-checkout and I started [scanning my items] through the cashier, and then all of a sudden I felt this sudden urge to cough, start coughing,” he said. “I just thought I breathed in some sawdust or something, and I just started coughing.”

The customer then realized he wasn’t the only one experiencing these symptoms. “I started looking around, and I noticed more and more people started coughing, the same problem,” he said. “Then we all started to see that it was the whole front section.”

Employees then decided to evacuate the store. “They opened the doors, and we all started going outside,” said the customer.

Paramedics responded to the scene, near 167th Street and Northeast 12th Avenue, and treated 11 people at a triage center set up near the store. Three of those patients were taken to the hospital for further treatment.

The source of the odor is not known.

Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox