COLBERT, OK – A home in Bryan County is sealed off and two people were exposed to the dangerous element of mercury.
The bizarre circumstances have investigators working to figure out what happened.
Just getting your hands on mercury is not something you hear about very often, much less getting poisoned from it.
But it’s happened to a couple and now doctors are working to save their lives.
The symptoms come fast. Trouble breathing and kidney failure. And the results, “It can be fatal.”
Messing with mercury is not something to take lightly. But officials say a couple in Colbert took a chance.
“From talking with the two hospitalized, they determined they'd been using it to extract gold from some old computer parts and they think it may have vaporized in that process and they may have inhaled those vapors."
Bryan County Emergency Management Director James Dalton says the couple sought treatment at MCSO in Durant Wednesday night. And Thursday, their house in the 400 block of Winnett Road in Colbert is sealed off until the authorities from the Environmental Protection Agency can make an inspection.
Dalton says, "We'll determine how much, where it originated from and we'll have to do a clean up of the mercury that's there."
When we told neighbor Kerry Marsh what was going on across the street, her first thought was obvious. “Shocked. I was pretty surprised and very concerned. I have and 8 month old and 8 year old that love to be outside. So any word of poisoning, you know you are very concerned about that."
While authorities say Marsh and others who live nearby are likely safe, she worries about her neighbors that are affected. “They are good people and I hate to see anything happen to good people."
Dalton says Marsh and other neighbors are okay to stay put, “We don't think there's enough mercury that there's any dangers to neighbors around there. The only danger is if you'd been in the home the last day or so."
Dalton says the man was air-lifted to Tulsa this afternoon, so he believes his exposure was fairly significant. At last check, the woman was still being treated at MCSO. No word on her condition.