Hazmat evacuation at EMC’s busiest store

EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – It was a strange Saturday night at the Walmart Supercenter in Porter, with firefighters and medics swarming in and customers heading out after an unknown irritant began to affect multiple customers.

Del Hart and her son were among them. Hart said they were looking for a short checkout line when she began to feel she was getting a sore throat.

“I looked around and everybody was coughing and I asked what was going on and they said they didn’t know,” Hart said.

When she asked a cashier if management had been informed that something was making people ill, the cashier said no, but then called for the manager.

“He came up and said there’s nothing I can do about it – I’ve already clocked out,” Hart said.

But someone called 911 and the Porter Fire Department responded.

Assistant Chief Carter Johnson said they found four patients suffering from some type of irritant.

“We evacuated Walmart and brought in Harris County Hazmat to do some air samples,” Johnson said. “They were unable to find an irritant.”

Some customers suggested pepper spray might have been the culprit, but that was not confirmed.