updated 4/28/2011 5:05:01 PM ET 2011-04-28T21:05:01

Authorities in Washington state says tear gas canisters improperly disposed in a trash bin caused fumes that sent seven people to a hospital with breathing problems.

Darrington District Fire Chief Dennis Fenstermaker said the canisters released a cloud of white smoke as they were emptied into a garbage truck and crushed Thursday.

Fenstermaker described them as law enforcement-type containers. Darrington has no police department, but has a sheriff's station, but Fenstermaker says he doesn't know if deputies are responsible.

Authorities say the truck driver and six people nearby suffered breathing problems, irritated eyes, a burning throat and tight chest.

Cascade Valley Hospital spokeswoman Penny Kelly says all have been released.

Darrington is about 56 miles northeast of Seattle.

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