Eight New Jersey Firefighters Sickened During Mobile Home Fire

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Authorities say eight firefighters who responded to a mobile home fire in South Brunswick were sent to the hospital after being sickened by fumes.

Fire scene where eight firefighters were stricken.
(Davy James/SouthBrunswickPatch.com photo)

UPDATE: Eight Firefighters Hospitalized after Mobile Home Fire

Kendall Park Fire Chief Chris Perez said they were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick as a precaution after complaining of dizziness and nausea.

The fire was reported at about 4 p.m. Tuesday. It was confined to a bathroom in the mobile home and was extinguished within five minutes.

The cause is under investigation.

The Middlesex County hazardous materials team searched the property. Perez told The Star-Ledger of Newark that they found some bug spray and other chemicals that could have caused the fumes.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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SCBA's??????? Take it they were not wearing any. I admit I am terrible at not wearing mine. But lucky for me I was promoted to engineer so I run the pump. But once in a great while I am forced to pack up do to wind shift, or no other choice than to set the engine up downwind. I admit in todays world its more important to wear SCBA with all the new synthetic materials used in modern homes.
for gods sake Mike wear the pack when you're supposoed to, are you paying for the air yourself?
I hope that they will feel better and will be healthy again.
I also hope they are well. I wonder sometimes if our SCBA is what allows us to get into environments that we absolutely should not be in, and wouldn't be if we were not wearing one. We still are exposing ourselves to lots of "stuff" through the skin.
Those yard ornaments are enough to make anyone sick...

Let's review the basics... Someone could be wearing a SCBA and still have the effects described in this post. It's all about route of entry and exactly what it is that is being exposed, which of course is dependent upon a complete SCBA ensemble, but were ALL body parts covered from direct exposure. It's silly to think that in this day and age, someone would be that naive to enter a mobile home that we all know is filled with synthetic building materials, e.g. toxic exposure regardless of whether or not you are wearing an SCBA. It's actually kind of a hazmat call if you asked my personal opinion. If you doubt this, I challenge anyone to take readings at one of these fires during the post fire time frame. Lot's of nasty things are in the air, or are being disturbed by you moving air around. Any exposed skin is a route of entry possibility.

Life itself can present exposure hazards but common sense tells one that a burning mobile home is not a happy place to be for anyone. I seriously hope that the involved firefighters had the foresight to have their private physicians draw a blood sample as a control group when they were first hired. The blood panel would also include tests for heavy metals and pesticides. This gives you a baseline in case, god forbid, you are exposed to something and you don't exactly know what it is. Having blood drawn at the emergency room post fire incident, and comparing that information with the control group is a good way to see if you have been compromised in any way. In the case of these firefighters, I am assuming that they will be tested for organophosphate exposure among other things.


SCBA`s with hood and clothes should have prevented this accident, hopefully they all recover with no damage!
Another lessson that we all should pay attention to our own safety!
My whole response of saying not wearing SCBA's was because of this section of the story

"found some bug spray and other chemicals that could have caused the fumes."

Yes I suppose you could still get sick through skin absorption or leak in your mask. But again your mask is positive pressure which you would hope would keep fumes out. Again though modern chemicals anything is possible. I just wish we knew for sure if they were packed up. Or did this happen post fire? I know I have gone through post fire without a pack to snap some pictures. So that is another possibility.
AS a former chief of this FD I can say years ago it was Dept policy to wear
protective equipment and my understanding is they actually strengthend the
policy after I left but thats waqs decades ago and I am 1200 miles away

their website www.kpvfc.org
Michael... This is what caught my attention as well. What is even more scary is that no comments were made as to how they provided decontamination of the turnouts. And more importantly, did they test the PPE for contamination? This is where I would start. The firefighters I am positive wore full SCBA and PPE, including hoods, wristlets and secured turnouts. Chemicals can easily penetrate and leave a residue on the PPE, causing exposure problems. This was and still is a hazmat incident.

As the former fire chief, do you recall whether these firefighters were afforded through routine annual physicals, blood draws to provide a control group as a reference in case of chemical exposure problems? If not, do you recommend this practice for firefighters to follow through their private physician? Just in case?
Hi Mike. My wife read to me your letter/ post and I think that really can be a big problem if not taken care of.

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