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Tampa fumes force restaurant to evacuate
By Times Staff Writer
Published December 8, 2007
Nearly 100 customers and employees evacuated the China Buffet at 1245 E Fowler Ave. about 1:30 p.m. Friday as carbon monoxide filled the restaurant, officials said.
Rescue workers treated two people for minor injuries at the scene - one who had trouble breathing and another with complications from epilepsy, said District Chief Gary Howcroft of Tampa Fire Rescue.
Investigators traced the problem to a gas-powered water heater that was not vented properly.
Once the air cleared, workers were allowed back inside to prepare for dinner. China Buffet reopened at 5 p.m.
Restaurant manager Jessica Cramer said the evacuation had another consequence: wasted merchandise. Numerous trays of food, such as Singapore noodles and Gen. Tso's spicy chicken, had to be thrown away.