Ryan Baldera had gotten married last year and recently became a new father to a baby boy

By Joelle Goldstein
November 08, 2019 06:59 PM
Ryan Baldera
Courtesy Carlin Hayes

The Buffalo Wild Wings employee who tragically died on Thursday after he was exposed to fumes from a floor cleaner in the Massachusetts restaurant has been identified.

Interim Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson confirmed in a press release on Friday that Ryan Baldera, of Lawrence, was the victim of the tragic chemical accident in Burlington.

Baldera, 32, worked at the restaurant as their general manager.

Friends and co-workers told Boston 25 News that Baldera had gotten married last year and recently became a new father to a baby boy.

On Friday, Patterson said a preliminary investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicated “that a second employee had applied two substances, Super 8 and Scale Kleen, to the kitchen floor while attempting to clean it. The two substances reacted with one another, creating toxic fumes.”

Buffalo Wild Wings
Joe Raedle/Getty

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Super 8 contains sodium hypochlorite, which the Interim Fire Chief said has a “high concentrate” of chlorine and is a “common product used for floor cleaning.”

As the second employee ran out of the restaurant to get fresh air, Baldera stayed behind and attempted to drain the substance out of the building, according to Boston 25 News.

Meanwhile, emergency responders were called to the scene for a report about a “chemical reaction in the kitchen area” and arrived at the just after 5:30 p.m.

Baldera eventually went outside, where authorities said he was “suffering from nausea.” He was then transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

A total of 12 individuals also checked themselves into Lahey Hospital once the product was released, while a 13th person self-checked into a Lowell-area hospital shortly after the incident, Patterson said.

“The patients included both restaurant employees and patrons,” he wrote in the press release. “Their symptoms included difficulty breathing and burning feelings in the eyes. All of the patients have since been released from the hospital.”

The chemical incident is still under investigation by the Burlington Police and Fire Departments. Authorities are urging anyone else who was in the restaurant at the time and believes they may have been impacted to seek medical treatment.

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A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson told PEOPLE in a statement: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of this tragic accident at our franchisee-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation.”

“Because the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to share any additional comment at this time,” the statement continued. “Any further questions will need to be referred to the local authorities.”

In the wake of Baldera’s death, a GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of the “beloved husband, father, son, brother, cherished uncle, nephew, and son-in-law.” It has raised over $9,300 since its creation on Friday afternoon.

“Ryan’s life was tragically taken too soon in an accident at work protecting the patrons and staff at a restaurant he managed,” the description reads. “Anyone he met felt better that day or in their life for knowing him. That’s who Ryan was in life and how he left this world – making sure the people around him were OK, safe, happy and with a smile on their face.”

“His selflessness was why everyone who knew Ryan; loved Ryan,” the description continues. “Sadly, that selflessness cost him his life.”

The Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce has also up a memorial fund for the general manager’s family.

Those interested in contributing to the fund can send a check payable to the “Ryan Baldera Memorial Fund” to Cambridge Savings Bank, 214 Cambridge St., Burlington, MA 01803.

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