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GARLAND - Three firefighters were transported to a hospital after they were exposed to a chemical vapors that led to the evacuation of three nearby businesses Saturday night in the 1500 block of Wall Street in Garland.

The incident began when employees of the Mapei Corporation mistakenly put the wrong chemical into a vat containing another chemical, spurring a reaction and releasing a vapor that was carried by a strong wind outside the building, said Merril J. Balanciere, a spokesman with the Garland Fire Department.

Firefighters and Dallas hazmat were called to the business at about 9 p.m. The first responding firefighters were briefly exposed to the vapors and taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution.

Surrounding roads and three businesses, including a McDonald's restaurant, Conoco station and Super Wok restaurant, were shut down as crews investigated the scene. About two dozen people were evacuated and nearby motels were asked to keep people inside, Balanciere said.

A staging area was set up at the HyperMart nearby and Garland and Dallas firefighters were on the scene.

The owner of the business told the fire department that there was no chance of an explosion with the mixture of the two unidentified chemicals. The vat was moved to a contained area with an exhaust system assisting in neutralizing the chemicals.

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