Five people affected after possible Freon leak at Kirtland business

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The San Juan County Fire Department responded to a reported Freon leak at a Kirtland business on March 12, which led to social media speculation that the incident was related to the new coronavirus.

The county fire department was dispatched on the night of March 12 to the Family Dollar store at 4161 U.S. Highway 64 in Kirtland, according to a San Juan County press release.

Multiple people called 911 on reports of a strange odor which left a number of people  coughing, with a dry, itchy throat and a feeling of dizziness.

The Farmington Fire Department HazMat team was called to the scene after on-scene gas tests were inconclusive.

The HazMat team found no hazardous gasses or chemicals and believes the symptoms could be attributed to a Freon leak in the business.

First responders were dispatched to the Family Dollar store in Kirtland on March 12 for a reported Freon leak. Social media speculation led to people believing it was related to the new coronavirus.

Five people were treated at San Juan Regional Medical Center and are expected to be fine, according to county Spokesman Devin Neeley.

He added there is no continuing public health concern and the business will remain closed until the fire marshal clears the scene.

Word of the incident spread to social media as people speculated it was related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Neeley said those rumors are false and he reminded the community to not call 911 unless it's a true emergency.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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