12 Texas firefighters hospitalized after pesticide exposure

After entering a building on a call, firefighters realized the heavy haze they were seeing was not smoke, but instead was from pesticides


Kaley Johnson
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

More than 30 people were being medically examined after they were exposed to pesticides inside a building in North Fort Worth on Friday.

Firefighters responded to a call at 4:47 p.m. that smoke was coming from Jess Hall’s Serendipity at 2920 Shotts St. At least nine firetrucks were on the scene at 6 p.m.

After going into the building, firefighters realized the heavy haze they were seeing was not smoke, but instead was from pesticides. The building, which belongs to a spice company, had just been fumigated for bugs. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)
After going into the building, firefighters realized the heavy haze they were seeing was not smoke, but instead was from pesticides. The building, which belongs to a spice company, had just been fumigated for bugs. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

The building, Jess Hall’s Serendipity, and a gun range next door, Defender Outdoors Shooting Center, were evacuated.

After going into the building, firefighters realized the heavy haze they were seeing was not smoke, but instead was from pesticides. The building, which belongs to a spice company, had just been fumigated for bugs.

Twelve firefighters, some of which were experiencing exposure symptoms, were sent to the hospital to be examined. Exposure symptoms can include runny nose, coughing and itchy eyes, said Mike Drivdahl, Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman.

Officials said the other 23 people who were exposed to the pesticide would be decontaminated on the scene. Medstar will determine if any of them need to go to the hospital as well.

“It’s unusual for us to respond to a fire call and for it to be a HAZMAT situation,” Drivdahl said.

At 6 p.m., crews set up two tarps next to an ambulance, behind which firefighters started to be checked out for exposure symptoms.

Chad Winas was inside the shooting center when he and other patrons were told to evacuate.

“I was just inside shooting away and they told everyone to get out,” he said. “I thought there was a shooting.”

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©2019 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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