Substance spill in Alberta: dead baby’s mother grew worried when kids got sick

The property manager of a northern Alberta apartment block where police say five siblings were exposed to some type of fumigant says their mother grew concerned when they started vomiting.

FORT MCMURRAY — The property manager of a northern Alberta apartment block where police say five siblings were exposed to some type of fumigant says their mother grew concerned when they started vomiting.

One of the children, an eight-month-old baby, died in hospital and four others remain in care in critical condition.

Sandy Mijajlovic, who runs the four-storey building in downtown Fort McMurray, said she spoke to the mother Monday morning.

“She doesn’t know yet why it’s happened, what’s happened. It’s a difficult situation,” said Mijajlovic.

“They (doctors) don’t know if it’s food poisoning. They don’t know if it’s some kind of chemical.”

She added that the family returned from holiday in Pakistan about 10 days ago.

“I know the kids … I see them. It’s not easy to see someone pass away. It’s such a small baby.”

RCMP said the baby was taken for treatment Sunday afternoon after the entire first floor of the building was evacuated following word of a substance spill.

Cpl. George Cameron said a two- and a six-year-old were in Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, while a four- and a seven-year-old were in hospital in Fort McMurray.

The children’s mother was also in hospital under observation, he said. The father was with the two children in Edmonton.

No names were released at the request of the family.

Cameron said tests were continuing on what substance may have been involved.

“Investigators are trying to determine the exact substance … and that information would obviously be passed on to medical folks, so that they can determine the best course of action as far as treatment goes for the other kids,” he said.

Mijajlovic, who also lives in the building, said other tenants haven’t raised health or safety concerns with her.

“The building is safe,” she said.

Tenants who were forced from the block were allowed back into their suites early Sunday evening after air-quality tests indicated there was no danger.

“It’s just sad,” Mijajlovic said. “I want police to check out what is going on.”

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