Eight Hospitalized at Parkville Group Home
Towson, Maryland (June 17, 2013) - Eight people at a Parkville group home were hospitalized early this morning following an apparent exposure to an unknown hazardous material.
Using equipment designed to detect elevated levels of possibly dangerous gases and chemicals, fire personnel were able to determine a problem inside the group home in the 2800 block of Hillcrest Avenue. They were not able to determine specifically what was wrong. Fire officials contacted the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), which has taken air samples from the facility.
Fire personnel first responded to the group home at 11:44 p.m., Sunday for a report of an unconscious subject. That patient was transported to Franklin Square Medical Center. Because only one patient was ill, fire and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers were not aware of a potential environmental hazard.
At 12:53 a.m., fire crews from Parkville Fire Station were called back to the group home, where they found additional patients suffering various levels of illness. Commanders called for additional medical support, as well as assistance from the Baltimore County Fire Department's (BCoFD) hazmat unit.
In all, eight patients - four staff members and four residents - were transported. Seven went to Franklin Square, and six of those were later transferred to the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. An eighth patient, a staff member, called for medical assistance after she returned to her home on the west side of the county; she was taken to Northwest Hospital.
The MDE tests showed extremely low trace amounts of hazardous chemicals. It appears that the problem was carbon monoxide (CO), which Fire personnel detected during their response, using gas meters carried on all fire apparatus. Because these CO levels were unusually high and because a source of CO was not apparent, the Incident Commander requested additional tests from MDE to explore whether there might be an additional problem.
Per BCoFD procedure, the property owner, utility and/or any relevant regulatory agencies are notified of problems involving carbon monoxide. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulates group homes such as the one on Hillcrest Avenue.
Revised June 18, 2013