Mass overdose possibly fueled by fentanyl kills 1, sickens about a dozen

Suspected mass fentanyl overdose event kills 1, sickens about a dozen

CHICO, CA (KHSL/CNN) - California authorities believe the powerful opioid fentanyl is responsible for a mass overdose event that left one person dead and hospitalized over a dozen others.

Even a couple of first responders got sick from the reported toxins in the home.

Police responded to a call at a home on early Saturday morning.

When they arrived, they found one man dead and had to taken 12 people to the hospital.

The Butte County coroner identified the man who died as Aris Turner, 34, of Chico, KRCR reported.

“We had a mass casualty event also known as an MCI. At one point we had six CPRs in progress,” said Jesse Alexander, Chico Fire Dept. division chief.

In addition to that, two police officers were taken to the hospital after they said they started to feel sick.

It has not been confirmed, but police said signs point to poisoning from fentanyl, an opioid often mixed with heroin or cocaine.

“So every indication is that this is a mass overdose incident was caused from the ingestion of some form of fentanyl in combination with another substance, although that is yet to be confirmed," said Police Chief Mike O’Brien.

First responders administered naloxone and performed CPR for multiple individuals on site, a task which took almost every ambulance in the city.

“So at that point we ended up having six fire units and eight medic units committed to this incident at one time, so pretty much stripping - very much stripping - the entire city of all the apparatus we had,” Alexander said.

Friends and family members of the people inside the home all eagerly waited behind police caution tape for any word on their loved ones.

Of the 12 individuals in the home who were hospitalized, three remain in good condition at the hospital as of Monday. The rest were released.

The home was being treated as a hazmat zone, but police say there was no immediate risk to neighbors.

For first responders, this incident was like nothing they've ever experienced.

“For single-family residence to get this many individuals, especially all at one time, to walk in and have six CPRs in progress ... that’s a pretty big deal and no I have not experienced that many cardiac events all at the same time,” Alexander said.

The two police officers were treated and released. Officials say they are in good health.

Meaghan Mackey, a reporter covering the story via Facebook Live for KRCR, was attacked by bystanders at the scene Saturday. She said she was shaken by the incident, but commended authorities for coming to her aid.

Copyright 2019 KHSL via CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Television Group, Inc., contributed to this report.