Dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide were detected at the Starbucks in Bridgehampton on Monday afternoon, sending three employees to the hospital, according to Fire Department Chief Gary Horsburgh.
The coffee shop has closed while workers try to solve a problem with a refrigeration unit, Horsburgh said on Monday evening.
An automatic alarm called the fire department to the Starbucks location on Montauk Highway, near the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, at about 3:30 p.m.
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, and is odorless and difficult to detect. "The alarms did exactly what they are supposed to do," he said.
A worker was using an acetylene torch on a refrigeration unit before the alarm went off, Horsburgh said.
"When I got on scene and walked into the building, my CO alarm went off the wall," he said. "It was the highest I've ever seen it in the 15 years I've been in the fire department."
The chief said he evacuated the building due to the "really dangerous" reading — or at least he tried to. "Some people were giving us a hard time," he said. While employes were cooperative, some customers weren't. "One guy wanted a cup of coffee before he left," Horsburgh recounted. He called Southampton Town police to Starbuck's to make sure everyone left.
The fire department transported three employees to Southampton Hospital for evaluation.
The fire chief also called for the Southampton Fire Marshal's office. While the office couldn't be reached on Monday night, Horsburgh said the fire marshal told him that Starbucks had to remain closed until carbon monoxide readings come back clean and the fire marshal deems it safe.