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Downtown Fort Myers Publix evacuated; 2 hospitalized

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FORT MYERS, Fla. A burned-out air conditioning unit prompted the evacuation of the downtown Publix Tuesday morning, the Fort Myers Fire Department said.

The evacuation happened just after 11 a.m. at the First Street Village location on 2160 McGregor Blvd., according to police. The air conditioning unit released smoke and refrigerant inside the store, Assistant Fire Cheif Scott Wirth said.

Two employees were taken to a hospital for breathing difficulty, city spokeswoman Kirsten O’Donnell said. Several people were treated by emergency crews on scene. It’s unclear what sort of injuries they suffered or how many people were inside.

The problem was initially suspected to be a gas leak, but authorities determined that wasn’t the case.

The store reopened Tuesday afternoon. None of the adjacent businesses were affected.

Crews from the fire department, Lee County Emergency Medical Services and the Fort Myers Police Department are on scene. WINK News reporter Nicole Valdes went live via Facebook: