Vacationing Family Ends Up In Critical Condition and Suffers Brain Damage From Common Chemical

The U.S. government has fined Terminix companies $10 million on Tuesday after its workers sprayed toxic pesticide methyl bromide at the Sirenusa Condominium Resort on the Caribbean island of St. John last year--it nearly killed a family.

When Steve Esmond, 49, his wife Dr. Theresa Devine, 48 and their two sons fell seriously ill during their stay at the resort. The family had to be airlifted to separate hospitals in Philadelphia after suffering major respiratory trauma and seizures.

Their 11th and 9th-grade sons, Sean and Ryan, are in critical care. In addition, Sean and Ryan ended up suffering permanent neurological damage. Their parents had to undergo therapy.

Methly bromide has been used for 30 years, and is a potent neurotoxin--meaning it can affect your central nervous system. Ryan, the youngest, is paralyzed from the neck down with no control of his limbs. He is aware of what happened. His older brother, Sean, is "in and out of a coma," cannot move his body and has no sensation in his limbs.

Their father Steve, head of a private middle school in Wilmington, is paralyzed and "must be strapped in to even sit." Only their mother, a dentist, is described as being in a "good condition."

The pest control company was charged with illegally using methyl bromide at the resort and 13 residential locations across the U.S. Virgin Islands in recent years. The U.S. Justice Department said Terminix agreed to pay the fine and has stopped using the pesticide on the U.S. mainland and in its territories.

A Terminix spokesman said the company would issue a statement soon.

Photo: Straits Times

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