MERRICK, N.Y. (CBS 2) — It was a scary afternoon at a Long Island Taco Bell, as Hazmat crews had to be called in after a customer, and a police officer, complained of falling ill.
Hazmat crews and Nassau County police responded to a suspected poisoning scare that left a young boy and at least one officer sick. The Taco Bell restaurant on Merrick Road was shut down by police, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
“I’m very surprised at that, because I’ve eaten here and never had a problem,” Valley Stream resident John Havel said.
An unidentified father, son and grandfather were having a meal at the fast food chain when the 10-year-old boy drank a soda from the fountain. He later complained that it smelled funny, tasted strange, and made him sick.
Investigators said the father brought the soda to the 7th Police Precinct nearby, and an officer also became ill after just smelling it.
The restaurant closed for hours, with a sign reading that it would reopen after 7 p.m.
“I think it’s upsetting because I eat here a lot, and so do my friends,” Deanna Calamusa, of Merrick, said.
CBS 2 cameras caught workers sanitizing countertops while management waited for the all-clear. When it came, the doors were opened and customers lined up inside and at the drive-thru after Hazmat crews made a non-hazardous determination.
Still, the Nassau County Health Department said they are investigating and planning to do further analysis on the restaurant’s soda supply.
For now, though, regular customers said the reopening is a relief.
Business was expected to continue at the restaurant into the overnight hours – business as usual.
As for those sickened at the restaurant, they’re said to be recovering.
Taco Bell said it is cooperating with Nassau police and the Health Department, but that so far initial tests came back clean.