Bladen Blueberry Farm Workers Seriously Ill
Two migrant workers from Bladen County became seriously ill Wednesday while working in area blueberry fields. The Pender Emergency Squad transported the two men to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.
A report stated both men suffered from low potassium, high fevers and respiratory distress.
One worker became ill in Rowan County and the other became ill in Pender County.
At least sixteen workers from a blueberry processing center in Ammon were taken to a hospital on Thursday, and treated for exposure to carbon monoxide.
According to Bladen County Emergency Director Bradley Kinlaw there was a forklift operated by propane inside the building at Cypress Creek Blueberry Farm, causing the air to fill with carbon monoxide.
Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology is the branch of public health leading a statewide investigation in this matter. Poison Control and the Department of Health from Bladen and Pender counties, along with the Labor and Agriculture departments are assisting in this investigation.
The owner of the farm has placed numerous carbon monoxide detectors in the roof of the packaging building.