Agen­cies re­spond to evac­u­ate Rock Hall apart­ment build­ing

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By DO­RIAN MITCHELL dmitchell@thekent­coun­

ROCK HALL — Mul­ti­ple agen­cies worked to clear an apart­ment build­ing of a harm­ful pes­ti­cide and pro­vide tem­po­rary shel­ter for res­i­dents Oct. 10 on Ch­e­sa­peake Villa Drive in Rock Hall.

An Oct. 11 en­try on the Rock Hall Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany’s blog states that re­spon­ders were dis­patched at 7:15 p.m. due to an odor in­side the Ch­e­sa­peake Villa Apart­ment build­ing.

Nor­man David­son of Up­per Shore Ag­ing Inc. said the com­plex is man­aged by Up­per Shore Ag­ing Hous­ing Corp. and owned by Rock Hall El­derly Hous­ing Inc.

He said the build­ing has 30 apart­ments, with a mix of res­i­dents who are 62 years or older and res­i­dents with dis­abil­i­ties.

The fire com­pany’s blog states crews ar­rived at the build­ing Oct. 10 and started in­ves­ti­gat­ing the source of the smell and the state of the ven­ti­la­tion.

“The long and short of it is a main­te­nance man er­rantly used an out­side in­sect spray in the down­stairs cor­ri­dor, when he re­ally shouldn’t have,” David­son said. “He did so to get rid of the crick­ets that come in through the door.”

He iden­ti­fied the pes­ti­cide as malathion, a com­mon in­sec­ti­cide that can be pur­chased at hard­ware stores and is in­tended for out­door use only.

The fire com­pany’s blog states that due to not hav­ing enough in­for­ma­tion about the prod­uct or how much was ap­plied, fire­fight­ers en­cour­aged res­i­dents to evac­u­ate their apart­ments.

“In­ter­ested oc­cu­pants were evac­u­ated to the Rock Hall Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany, where a tem­po­rary shel­ter with emer­gency per­son­nel and vol­un­teers was set up,” the en­try states.

A bus re­port­edly was used to take res­i­dents to the fire­house.

David­son said while some peo­ple on the lower level left, most ten­ants stayed in the apart­ment build­ing and “just closed their doors.”

The en­try states the Mary­land De­part­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment ar­rived to as­sist the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. One oc­cu­pant had to be taken to Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Ch­ester­town for “symp­toms re­lated to the in­ci­dent” and other oc­cu­pants were ex­am­ined at the scene.

“I don’t know about any­one taken to the hos­pi­tal,” said David­son, who re­sponded later in the evening to the scene.

The blog states fire­fight­ers, MDE per­son- nel and apart­ment main­te­nance staff worked to re­move the pes­ti­cide from the build­ing. Once the scene was cleared, the res­i­dents at the tem­po­rary shel­ter were al­lowed to re­turn to their apart­ments.

David­son said only por­tions of the build­ing’s hall­way were af­fected by the pes­ti­cide and that they were rinsed with wa­ter and an ex­trac­tor.

“The hall­ways were ven­ti­lated with fans, al­most to the point where you couldn’t smell it at all,” he said.

David­son said the agen­cies left about 10 p.m., while he stayed be­hind to en­sure all the res­i­dents made it back to their apart­ments.

“A spe­cial thank you to all the vol­un­teers at the shel­ter and Eric Vansant, who of­fered bus trans­port­ing to and from the shel­ter,” the blog states.

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