Man Burned By Chemical From Pepper Spray Can

Janitor Found Canister Inside Trash Can At Hillcrest-Area Shopping Center

A janitor suffered a minor chemical burn Thursday when contents of a can of pepper spray he fished out of a trash can at a Hillcrest mall spewed onto him.

The 45-year-old maintenance man reported being doused on the hand by the caustic liquid at the Hillcrest Cinemas complex in the 3900 block of Fifth Avenue just before noon, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Medics washed the patch of the man's skin contacted by the chemical, then took him to a hospital for a precautionary evaluation, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said.

Several workers at nearby businesses reported superficial respiratory irritation from the wafting pepper spray, but did not require medical attention, according to Luque.

The canister may have been rigged by a prankster to spray anyone who picked it up, though the fact that it was discovered in a garbage bin suggested the incident was more than likely an accident, the spokesman said.

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