SEBRING — A hazardous materials incident at midday Sunday ended up killing one person and sending 15 more to hospitals, as a precaution.
The Sebring Police Department, lead agency on the investigation, has not yet released details on the deceased or the nature of the death.
Police have said that the death resulted inside a house from the mixing of household chemicals that produced toxic and lethal fumes.
The exact chemical composition of those fumes has not been determined.
Sebring Fire Department officials said they were paged out at noon for a medical response on Ellington Avenue.
Upon arrival, firefighters determined it was a hazardous substance situation involving a fatality from a toxic substance contained within one residence.
Fire Capt. Austin Maddox said the curiosity of neighbors exacerbated the situation, increasing their potential exposure to the substance.
Maddox said this was an isolated incident that was not connected to infrastructure.
Hazmat team members took precautions to minimize exposure, Maddox said. They removed the hazard from the scene and neutralized it, sending the substance off for proper disposal.
The fire department’s hazmat team responded alongside Highlands County Fire Rescue/Emergency Medical Services and the police.
The other patients included three children, three police officers, and two EMS members, all for precautionary measures.
Patients were released from the hospital after their evaluations from the hospital.
Police worked to remove people from any dangerous area and keep them out of danger until it was safe for them to return. Temperatures, with a heat index, were predicted to have reached above 100 degrees F.
Hazmat team members mitigated the hazard and remained on scene with police as they conducted their on-scene investigation.
Highlands County Fire Rescue sent EMS 1, EMS 3 and Battalion Chief 1 Kelly Hinkle to assist the city of Sebring with the incident.
Hinkle was in charge of the EMS response, Maddox said, while Fire Chief Robert Border handled the hazmat response.