They family, who are back in Delaware are blaming a chemical used in their hotel room in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Environmental Protection Agency suspects Steve Esmond, his wife Dr. Theresa Devine, and their two teenage boys were poisoned by the powerful pesticide methyl bromide.
Esmond’s wife, Dr. Theresa Devine, 49, has been released from the hospital. Esmond, an official at the private Tatnall School in Greenville, Del., has regained consciousness, according to the the New York Daily News.
ABC7 Chicago reports, the two boys, Sean and Ryan, are currently in critical condition at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Their parents are at another hospital in stable condition.
“They’re just one of those families that everyone loves to be around,” Oliver Campbell, a peer of one of the boys, told WPVI-TV. “It’s just horrible.”
“It’s terrifying,” another peer, Carl Marvin, said to WPVI-TV. “It’s really scary to think that this could happen to somebody that you know.”
The EPA has launched a “comprehensive investigation,” Enck said. Officials were sent to sample and monitor the apartments to see if any of the pesticide was left.
“We’re looking at what happened here, which we consider an illegal application of methyl bromide,” Enck said.
In a statement, Glass Vacations said:
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Sea Glass Vacations, LLC acts as a rental agent for several rental units at Sirenusa and elsewhere on St. John, including Villa Capri. Sea Glass is aware that the family that rented Villa Capri from 3/14/15 to 3/22/15 all became seriously ill and were transported to the hospital for treatment. We are also aware that authorities are actively investigating the possibility that the illnesses were due to chemicals used for pest control. The unit immediately below Villa Capri was recently treated for pests by Terminix, however, Villa Capri itself had not been so treated. With respect to questions you may have regarding the application of chemicals, we direct you to Terminix. Sea Glass Vacations does not treat the units it manages for pests but instead relies on licensed professionals for pest control services. We are committed to full cooperation with all the authorities currently investigating this matter. However, as a rental management company, we generally do not share information about the affairs of our clients and customers with the media, and therefore will not comment further at this time.”
According to ABC news, the Department of Justice is investigating Terminix, the company that applied the pesticide, Enck confirmed.
Terminix has halted all fumigation in the Virgin Islands as part of the ongoing investigation, said Peter Tosches, Terminix’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications.
“First and foremost, the family is in our thoughts and prayers,” Terminix said in a statement. “We’re cooperating with authorities in their investigation, and we’re conducting our own thorough investigation in the matter. We’re committed to performing all work we undertake in a way that is safe for our employees, customers and the public.”