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Mystery gas affects 17 campers at Vallecito Creek Campground

Medical treatment provided to eight people, none hospitalized
(Courtesy of Upper Pine River Fire Protection District)

Upper Pine River Fire Protection District dispatched first responders to Vallecito Creek Campground on Tuesday evening after it received a report that numerous people had been exposed to an unknown gas and felt ill.

The fire district responded at 9:07 p.m. with two chief officers, a paramedic unit and three ambulances transporting nine personnel, according to a news release from Upper Pine.

Seventeen people from four camp sites reported being sick, according to the fire department. Eight people who showed symptoms such as wheezing, nausea, and throat and nose irritation were given medical treatment. Mercy Hospital was alerted it could receive several patients, but no one ended up needing hospitalization.

None of the affected people reported their eyes feeling irritated, a symptom of exposure to pepper spray or bear repellent, at the time, the release says.

First responders used gas monitors to sample the atmosphere at and around the four campsites where people reported feeling ill, but no trace of hazardous gasses or substances were detected. Onsite chemical bathrooms were also inspected under the suspicion there could have been a sulfur or methane gas discharge.

The investigation was handed over to La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.


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