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Firefighters Sickened While Fighting Howe Fire

Several firefighters battling the Black Canyon fire north of Howe are recovering after becoming sick with an intestinal disorder on Saturday, incident commander Marty Adell said.

The illness struck 41 crew members, 26 of whom were unable to return to work, Adell said. Seven people were taken to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and two were taken to Arco Medical Center for treatment. Eight people were treated and released on Saturday while the last person was kept overnight for more evaluation, Adell said.

The Idaho Department of Health is investigating the cause of the sickness. In order to help prevent the illness from spreading further, the base camp servers are serving personnel at the salad bar instead of everyone helping themselves; salt and pepper shakers have been removed and replaced with individual packets.

Also, tables are being sanitized after each use. A water tender carrying Clorox mixed with water sprayed the grounds around the Base Camp, the LDS church and the Community Center. Hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, and gloves are readily available throughout the Incident Command Post and Base Camp. The shower unit has also taken additional precautions to sanitize their equipment between uses.

Most people who got sick were feeling better within a several hours. A mobile medical unit from Rexburg has stayed at the base camp in case anyone else gets sick.

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