DENVER (AP) - At least 24 firefighters were taken to hospitals
Monday after they were exposed to a potentially dangerous pesticide
while investigating what they thought was a fire at a greenhouse.
All were in good condition late Monday, hospital officials said.
A fire was mistakenly reported at a Veldkamps Flowers greenhouse
at about 6 p.m. When firefighters entered the greenhouse, what they
thought was smoke turned out to be a pesticide from a fumigation
operation, fire Capt. David Borelli said.
Two firefighters complained of tightness in their chests and
shortness of breath and were taken to St. Joseph Hospital.
Between 22 and 26 other firefighters who were exposed to the
pesticide were decontaminated at the scene and taken to St. Joseph
or Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center.
Borelli said he did not know the name of the pesticide but said
it was a Class 4 health hazard, the most dangerous.
"In the right concentrations, it could be instantly lethal,"
he said.
Businesses are usually required to notify the fire department 24
hours before fumigating a building, Borelli said, but he did not
know whether Veldkamps had done so.
Veldkamps officials did not immediately return a phone call late
Monday night.
The fire department was investigating.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)