LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Post office employees in Pocahontas are at the hospital after they came in contact with a chemical substance.

Dan Noble with the Arkansas Office of Emergency Management said the substance was later identified as dog deterrent spray. 

Noble is unsure how the chemical got discharged.

The incident took place at the U.S. Post Office in Pocahontas Friday morning at approximately 9:26 a.m. 

Ken Kelley of ProMed Ambulance told THV11 the original patients were having upper respiratory symptoms, like tingling and burning in the throat. No airway construction.

The 17 employees were taken to some area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. Hazmat teams examined and cleared the scene. Crews from Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, Paragould and Jonesboro responded.

Other facilities including a school in the immediate area sheltered in place with no reported injuries.

We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.