Pennsylvania EMS Crew Recalls Mysterious Hazmat Exposure

"I just knew I needed to get out of the back of the ambulance."

 

 
 
 

KENA VERNON, WNEP | | Thursday, January 20, 2011


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EMS Workers Recount Hazmat Incident

EMS crew recalls hazmat incident.
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We are learning more about a hazardous materials situation in Northumberland County on Monday that sent three people to the hospital, including two EMS workers who had to be decontaminated.

Eric Shrawder, the EMS chief for the Dalmatia area, used his ambulance to treat the chemical burned patient. It was no routine call. Shrawder himself became the patient.

"I leaned down to undo his buckle and belt and I got a whiff of this odor that I can't explain. It took my breath away. I told my driver you need to pull over," said Shrawder.

It's all started Monday when a man who claimed he jumped from a train and ended up near Herndon complaining of severe burns. 911 was called and Shrawder and a coworker treated the man in the ambulance. That's when both were overcome by fumes. A Hazmat team was called and all three were decontaminated.

"I just knew I needed to get out of the back of the ambulance. The fumes were just overwhelming. And my life comes first," added Shrawder. He said the chemical smell was so intense he had to use three oxygen tanks before he could start breathing normally again.

Edward Carl was the driver of the ambulance. He said he wasn't affected as much as Shrawder. "I never had the smell before. It kind of smelled like a perfume and then it smelled like chlorine, kind of fingernail polish all combined together," said Carl.

Both EMS workers were treated and released from the hospital. Norfolk Southern Railroad said there is no proof the man was ever on a train.

The Department of Environmental Protection Agency said tests run on the clothing and a blanket came back negative for chemicals.

State police are still trying to figure out what happened.



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