Emergency crew sent to hospital after exposure to poisonous chemical

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Several Henrico emergency responders were sent to the hospital Monday after being exposed to toxic chemicals.

Authorities say a woman was trying to kill herself with the chemicals inside her car.

Police were called here to Dodson Pest Control around 1 a.m. Monday morning by a woman threatening to kill herself with pesticides inside her car.

Lieutenant Jim Price says police arrived with the woman still conscious.

"Just a very despondent, distraught individual that had a lot of despair," he said.

The woman also had a five gallon container of methyl bromide, a highly regulated and potentially hazardous pesticide. Responders were exposed to the chemical after pulling the woman from her car.

"It was on their person, their clothing, and it was in the air from the vehicle being opened," Price said.  "Of course she was saturated with it also."

The woman died at the hospital while five police officers and several fire and EMS workers were treated for exposure as a precaution. Price says he's seen many different kinds of attempted suicide during his career but this is a first.

"There are those that use some highly unusual methods to try and take their life," he said.  "But this is certainly different."

All the emergency responders were treated and released. There's not expected to be any long-term health effects from their brief exposure to these chemicals.

The suicide victim worked at Dodson Pest Control but police have not confirmed if that is where she got a hold of these chemicals.

Methyl bromide is illegal in some countries but regulated as a hazardous substance in the United States.

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