Penticton crews contend with hazardous material

Six people taken to hospital after coming into material believed to be pepper spray

Medical personnel attend to Penticton firefighters (background) as Penticton Regional Hospital staff members

Medical personnel attend to Penticton firefighters (background) as Penticton Regional Hospital staff members

At least six people were treated or observed at Penticton Regional Hospital after coming in contact with some type of hazardous material earlier this week.

Emergency responders and medical staff were among those affected through secondary contact with what is believed to have been a form of pepper spray.

According to deputy chief Dave Spalding of Penticton Fire Rescue, crews responded to a medical call at The Excelsior building at 2125 Atkinson St. late Tuesday afternoon.

“There were two people inside a storage room, going through some boxes, and they started to have burning in their eyes and throat so they left and called 911,” said Spalding. “The ambulance came and addressed them, taking them to hospital and we went in to see if we could find the source, which we were unable to locate.”

According to the deputy chief, after the first patients were taken to the hospital, some staff began showing similar symptoms, at which time a decontamination station, including tent and medical equipment, was set up outside of the emergency entrance.

“That is standard operating procedure in cases like this to make sure they didn’t have an unknown substance in the ER (emergency room),” said Spalding.

The two people originally treated were kept in hospital for about two hours and according to officials, there did not appear to be any lasting problems for any of those involved.