Four children are dead and six family members are in the hospital after what officials are calling an accidental poisoning at a Texas home, reports CNN. Officials were called to a mobile home in Amarillo around 5am Monday after an individual arrived and found a family of 10 sick. Officials found one child dead at the scene while three others died at a hospital. After ruling out a carbon monoxide leak, they discovered a family member had sprayed an aluminum phosphide pesticide beneath the home to get rid of mice, then sprayed it with water in an attempt to get rid of an odor on Sunday. The combination created "a very lethal chemical" known as toxic phosphine gas, which seeped into the home overnight, a fire official tells Amarillo Globe-News.
As phosphine gas can cause respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, when the lungs fill with fluid, aluminum phosphide pesticide is "only sold to people that have a license to apply it," another official tells KFDA. In this case, however, it appears to have been purchased on the "black market" by a family member who "didn't know enough about the chemical." Autopsies are expected to be performed Tuesday on the deceased, identified as siblings Felipe Balderas, 7; Johnnie Balderas, 9; Josue Balderas, 11; and Yasmeen Balderas, 17, per KLEW. The mother of the children remains hospitalized in critical condition, while the father and four other children are in stable condition in intensive care, reports KFDA.