The Merced County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a hazmat incident which left one person dead and nine others hospitalized Thursday.
Around noon deputies responded to a hazmat call on Monroe Ave and China Camp Road.
They said it was possibly a chemical spray used in agriculture. They were onscene for more than five hours.
“We’re no quite sure what we have yet. We all just got on scene and began our investigation but we believe it has something to do with some kind of agricultural hazmat spill,” Deputy Daryl Allen of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Allen said one worker was killed and another hospitalized. Eight first responders were also taken to hospitals due to exposure.
Allen said the area is full of cotton fields and the chemical may have been used agriculturally.
“I think that it’s very sad first of all because this is a community that’s know for growing,” said one resident.
Ryan Jacosen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau said it’s hard to know what happened without knowing the chemicals involved.
“This particular instance at this point we don’t know exactly what’s happened. Pesticide application and storage in the state of California for the agriculture industry is highly regulated and those individuals that apply those pesticides in the fields are obviously trained on what they’re using and how to use them,” Jaconsen said.
The victim has not been identified.