Skip to Content

No Answers Yet For 49 Sick Firefighters

With fire season in full swing, firefighters have been pushed to their limits, and this weekend, a group of almost 50 fighting the Black Canyon Fire became sick on the job.

After the holiday weekend, the Southeastern Health District is just now starting to investigate what caused the sickness. But now, all 49 of the firefighters are better, and most have gone home, but that may not have been the case without the fast response of agencies all across eastern Idaho.

It started with two firefighters becoming sick Friday night with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Then, the next morning, it got worse.

“Saturday morning, after briefing, about 20 additional people came down with symptoms, which led officials to believe that there had been some sort of outbreak,” said Madonna Lengerich, Public Information Officer.

Nine ambulances from five different towns rushed to the camp. Six people were taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and three to Lost Rivers.

With nine people in the hospital and 40 others sick with the unknown illness, firefighters went to stay at a church across the street, where they could receive medical attention and stay away from other crews.

“Some of the firefighters that were actually out and staged, they were afraid to come into camp, and for the rest of the days, they were afraid to come around the rest of us,” said Diana Ludwig, a medical unit leader.

“People did their job, everyone pitched in to help, and we were able to get to a successful conclusion,” said Lengerich.

Then the sanitation began, with the cleaning of tables, doorknobs and anything touched by crews.

“We ordered sanitation wipes, like Clorox wipes, gave them to the men to start cleaning up their buggies and fire engines,” said Ludwig.

The health department hopes to know what the illness was by Friday.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content