Two KFC staff members have been hospitalised after inhaling fumes at a Canterbury restaurant.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand shift manager Andrew Norris said crew attended the Rolleston eatery on Saturday morning to investigate reports of an "unusual smell".

The KFC was initially evacuated but fire crew soon established that a contractor working on site a day earlier had created glue or resin fumes.

The KFC was ventilated and the fumes didn't pose an ongoing risk, he said.

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St John Ambulance duty centre manager Bruce Chubb said five patients were assessed at the scene, and two were taken to Christchurch Hospital for observation.

A staffer at KFC declined to comment.