Three deputies and two medical responders are under observation at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital after one deputy passed out and the others showed lesser symptoms when a container with powdery substance was opened and went airborne during a search of the A1 Smoke shop on West Church Street Friday afternoon.
Chief Deputy Jeff Hall, who was at the scene, said none of the officers or first responders had symptoms that appeared life threatening, but all showed some effects from the powdery substance and were treated with standard decontamination procedure. They remain under observation at Piedmont Mountainside.
Hall said it began when a powder, believed to be a legally sold substance used in vapes and in the powder form, went airborne.
Hall would not comment on what the original search warrant was for at this time. He did say the package in question appeared to be a regularly sold item at vape shops, not an illegal drug.
A Cherokee County Hazmat team is expected at the scene to begin both clearing the area and gathering samples. The parking lot for the neighboring stores in the West Church Street area that contains Pueblo Grille was closed. Hall said there may be some delay as they are seeking additional search warrants after the incident.
Hall said the deputy who passed out had regained consciousness and is recovering, but was still being watched closely. He said they were exercising full caution with the officers and med crew.