Robbinsville Amazon warehouse

Enlarge / Employees fufill online orders at the Inc. fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (credit: Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, 24 Amazon employees working in a Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, warehouse were sent to five different area hospitals after a 9oz canister of bear spray was deployed.

Early reports that the canister was punctured by an Amazon robot have not been confirmed by either Amazon or the Township’s communication official, John Nalbone. Nalbone told Ars that Robbinsville first responders only reported that an “automated machine” was to blame, which could mean anything from a programmed robotic arm to an automated conveyor belt. (Of course, may readers of Ars would agree that defining the meaning of “robot” is more than just an exercise in trivia. This Wired article explores the topic more deeply.)

On Wednesday evening, one of the 24 people hospitalized was in critical condition, while another 30 were treated on the scene, ABC News says.

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