What was supposed to be a dream Caribbean vacation was turned into a nightmare for one Delaware family. According to the Wilmington News Journal, school administrator Steve Esmond, his wife Dr. Theresa Devine, and the couple’s two teenage sons Ryan and Sean became seriously ill during their stay at Sirenusa Resort. The family was vacationing in the Virgin Islands, during which time it’s believed they were exposed to a deadly pesticide called methyl bromide.
It’s believed that the pesticide was applied to their villa on March 19. That evening, all members of the family began to feel the effects of exposure. The two teens reportedly suffered seizures. The family was rushed to a hospital on a nearby island; from there, the Esmond family was airlifted out of the Caribbean. Fourteen-year-old Ryan and 16-year-old Sean Esmond were flown to a hospital in Philadelphia, Penn., and their parents were sent to the Christiana Hospital in Delaware.
“They’re just one of those families that everyone loves to be around,” said Oliver Campbell, a Tatnall high school student who knows the two teens. “[This situation is] just horrible.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 6, 2015
It’s been two weeks since the Delaware family was exposed to the pesticide, and the devastating effects continue to linger. Theresa was released from the hospital, but her husband and two sons remain in critical condition. Although Steve Esmond has reportedly regained consciousness, he was said to be paralyzed. The Esmond teens have yet to regain consciousness.
The pesticide methyl bromide is a serious health risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure can result in severe or fatal damage to the central nervous and respiratory systems. Due to its danger, the pesticide is banned from being used indoors and is typically only used for agricultural applications by trained professionals. The agency administered a warning shortly after the Delaware family was poisoned.
Terminix, the company alleged to have sprayed the banned pesticide, is now at the center of a criminal investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice. The company is accused of misusing the poisonous substance on more than one occasion. In addition to applying the poison pesticide in March, it’s believed that Terminix also sprayed methyl bromide in October. Environmental regulators in the Virgin Islands have issued a “stop use” order against the business to ensure that no one else is harmed.
FAMILY POISONED? Criminal probe underway to determine what sickened family in Caribbean http://t.co/hkl7PN0NVc pic.twitter.com/JELfSiGm3j
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) April 6, 2015
Victim Thomas Esmond heads the Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware. His wife Theresa Devine works as a dentist in Broomall, Penn.
[Image Credit: WTNH News 8]