(Oct. 2, 2020) What began as a welfare check at a residence in Ocean Pines on Sunday afternoon grew into a three-hour response involving multiple agencies, including the Worcester County Hazmat team.
Police Chief Leo Ehrisman said the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department was alerted for a medical emergency just after 4 p.m. on Sunday.
“It was basically a check welfare because of a subject that wasn’t acting quite right,” he said. “It started really simple and then got really complex.”
Paramedics arrived first to the scene in north Ocean Pines to assess the patient’s condition, while a police officer began investigating the emergency scene.
“Both the person and my officer felt ill so then it becomes an issue of has there been exposure to something,” he said.
With uncertainties arising at the scene, Ocean Pines Assistant Fire Chief Joe Widgeon requested a full fire and hazmat response. Also arriving at the location were Worcester County Sheriff’s officers.
“Then when the fire department thought it may be a contamination or chemical exposure, it became an environmental issue for public safety,” he said.
After emergency responders deemed the scene a potential hazmat incident, nearby residences were evacuated.
“The rest was done for precautions to confirm nothing toxic is outside or inside the residence,” he said. “That all has to be done by hazmat and environmental control.”
After hazmat responders concluded no health threats were involved, the Ocean Pines Police and Worcester County Sheriff’s office assumed control of the investigation.
“It is a mental health issue, so it’s protected,” he said. “He was transported for examination at Peninsula Regional and my officer was transported to AGH for an examination and was released.”