MONTEREY (CBS SF) — Monterey firefighters have evacuated a portion of a shopping center this afternoon after employees at an Apple electronics store said they felt sick after receiving a package with an unknown substance, the city’s fire chief said.

Employees at the store in the Del Monte Shopping Center called 911 at 12:25 p.m. after some employees began feeling dizzy and nauseous after handling a package that was delivered to the store, according to Monterey Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer.

When emergency crews arrived at the scene, located at 1410 Del Monte Center, they transported four people to a hospital. Eight others were evaluated at the scene, Panholzer said.

Firefighters and the Monterey County regional hazardous materials team evacuated three stores, including the Apple store, as well as an outdoor eating area, according to Panholzer.

After an initial investigation, fire and hazmat officials determined the package was contaminated in transit when an unknown substance most likely leaked onto the package’s exterior, Panholzer said.

As of 2:40 p.m., the three stores and outdoor patio were still evacuated and fire and hazmat crews are still investigating the incident, according to Panholzer.

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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