Four children were killed and six family members were hospitalized when a poisonous gas wafted through a Texas home.
Investigators say phosphine gas killed the four children when someone implemented “restricted use” pesticide Aluminum Phosphide as a poison to banish mice from the Amarillo, Texas home, the Daily Mail reports.
A visitor to the home found everyone sick and called 911.
The poisonous gas killed four children aged 7 to 17. Siblings Felipe Balderas, 7; Johnnie Balderas, 9; Josue Balderas, 11 and Yasmeen Balderas, 17, all perished, WJLA reports.
One of the children died at the scene, the other three individuals died at a local hospital.
Four other children of the household and their father are recovering relatively well while the mother is in serious condition and being treated at a Lubbock hospital. She is on life support, according to a GoFundMe page created for the family.
One of the recovering children is not eating due to “lingering effects” but two others are “eating and responding well.”
Responders cleared the area but 10 of them were taken to hospital as a precaution. They did not show symptoms of illness, the Amarillo Globe-News reports. They initially thought poisoning by carbon monoxide was the cause of the deaths.
The house is presently off-limits, noted the GoFundMe page.
A family member had acquired the chemical Aluminum Phosphide, which can only be bought with a special license, on the black market, Amarillo Fire Department Lieutenant Josh Whitney said, KFDA reports.
The poisonous gas was applied on Sunday and would have wafted through the house overnight, the AFD stated.
No criminal charges will be pressed, Amarillo Special Crimes said.
The GoFundMe page, which has already raised $16,000, states the three youngest siblings attended Eastridge Elementary School. In turn, the oldest, Yasmeen, was a student at Palo Duro High School where she worked for the student newspaper.
A vigil was conducted for the dead family members on Dec. 2.
Neighbors spoke of a “good family” whose kids brightened up the neighborhood and kept it “alive.”
Sources: Daily Mail, WJLA, Amarillo Globe-News, KFDA / Photo credit: KFDA