Pesticide Exposure To Blame For Death Of Two-Year-Old - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/18/07

Pesticide Exposure To Blame For Death Of Two-Year-Old

The death of an east Lubbock 2-year-old girl could lead to criminal charges. NewsChannel 11 has learned that Lubbock police have identified someone who may have given the east Lubbock family an industrial strength pesticide to fumigate their home.

The 2-year-old died at UMC Wednesday morning just hours after she and her family were taken to the hospital for what was originally thought to be Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Haz-mat crews later identified the toxin as a commercial pesticide. Again, police want to question the person who reportedly may have given the family the chemicals.

Police put up yellow tape and closed off the house around Noon Wednesday. We're told patrol units have been periodically driving by the home to ensure no one is going inside. This is because of the toxic fumes still being emitted from a commercial grade pesticide that family used, which authorities believe sent the family to the ER and later killed their 2-year-old daughter.

A morning of lights and ambulances; an unexpected sight for many in this east Lubbock neighborhood.

"I saw two ambulances and a fire truck and all the same time one eased up and pulled off and the other brought out somebody," neighbor E.R. Tate said.

Arriving about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, fire crews found two people suffering from what they believed to be Carbon Monoxide posing outside their home.

Chris Angerer, Lubbock Fire Departments' Acting Deputy Chief of Operations says, "[Lubbock Fire Department] ran Carbon Monoxide tests, and then realized we had 3 more people inside the structure. All 5 of those people were transported to the hospital. At this time we have indicated the child succumbed to whatever they were exposed to in the structure."

To determine the toxic agent, a Haz-mat team entered the residence for testing.

"Our assumption is a chemical, a fumigant called Phostoxin, was used inside the structure here as a result it produced a gas called Phosphine gas," Angerer said.

Fire officials say the chemical was in a commercial pesticide pellet form, found in four locations throughout the home. They believe the pesticides were placed about Noon on Tuesday for roaches or pests.

The pellets are, "Toxic when they contact atmospheric moisture and if they're contained as they were here then there going to be toxic to the living organisms," Angerer adds.

However in this case, authorities believe it caused the death of a little girl.

"Everybody used to seeing the baby and holler at her. She's very smart and liked by everybody in the community," says long time family friend James Rayford.

The name of the toddler has not been released at this time. Family members spent the day being monitored at the ER and the fire department says they'll return on Friday to re-test the house before letting the family return.

Staying Safe Around Your Home
The Lubbock Police Department put together this useful manual. It's a checklist of what you can look for around your home to keep you and your family safe.

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