4 children dead, 6 people hospitalized following 'HAZMAT incident' in Northeast Amarillo
AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) - Several Amarillo authorities were sent to a home where at least four children have died following a "HAZMAT incident" in Northeast Amarillo Monday morning.
According to Amarillo Special Crimes, the Amarillo Fire Department is the main authority working the case at 1301 Carolyn St.
Special Crimes said nine people were transported to the hospital and four people have died.
The Amarillo Fire Department said there were 10 people inside the home when the incident occurred. When crews arrived at the scene just after 5 a.m. Monday, one minor died on scene. The other three died after being taken to the hospital. The oldest of those who have died due to this incident was 17 years old. One of the other people who were taken to the hospital is said to be unstable and in critical condition.
According to Justice of the Peace Gary Jackson, those who died ranged in age from 7 years old to 17 years old. They have been identified as Felipe Balderas, 7; Josue Balderas, 11; Johnnie Balderas, 9; and Yasmeen Balderas, 17. Autopsies will be performed on the four children in Lubbock Tuesday morning, however, Jackson said those will probably come back pending toxicology.
Jackson said the mother is still alive, but in serious condition. She has been airlifted to a Lubbock hospital. The father is in intensive care, but is in stable condition. The four other children who were in the home are also in stable condition in ICU.
AFD said someone at the residence had placed a pesticide, which is now identified as Weevil-Cide, containing aluminum phosphide underneath the house. At some point, a person living at the home tried to wash away the pesticide with water. This caused a chemical reaction that created phosphine gas, which is extremely dangerous. Phosphine gas causes pulmonary edema and extreme respiratory distress.
According to AFD, there are indications that the people in the home had been breathing the toxic gas for up to two days.
According to Special Crimes, "No criminal charges appear to apply at this time."
AFD said numerous first responders from AFD, APD and AMR went to the hospital to get checked out and none of them appear to have any negative signs or symptoms from possible exposure. However, several firefighters are being held for observation as a precaution.
Contractors with the Environmental Protection Agency were out at the home Monday evening after neighbors became concerned with the situation. A contractor tells ABC 7 News after taking measurements and testing, there is no danger to surrounding homes. The EPA will continue tests at the home on Tuesday.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is received.