People and law enforcement in LaBelle fall ill from ‘suspicious element’

Reporter: Justin Kase
Published: Updated:

A hazmat situation is unfolding in LaBelle, which has caused 20 people to become ill from a “suspicious element” released into the nearby area.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office said multiple people, including law enforcement, suddenly became ill, Wednesday evening.

Investigators said the “suspicious element” was found in the area of North Industrial Loop off State Road 29.

On Thursday morning, it was still unknown if the element had been contained or if it posed a threat to the surrounding area.

We don’t know how the patients are doing after they fell ill to the mysterious substance.

At this point, all HCSO will say is that deputies located a stolen vehicle at a business inside the industrial park on Wednesday.

When they were investigating the stolen vehicle, they found the suspect passed out and unconscious inside a motor home.

That motorhome also turned out to be stolen.

Law enforcement had made it inside and was able to call paramedics to help the man, but while everyone was investigating, they all claimed to smell an unusual odor, and then everyone fell ill.

We know some or all of them had to be transported to the hospital.

What we do know is that as a precaution, the suspect and everyone else who fell ill received Narcan, although we don’t know if drugs are the mysterious substance that’s being investigated.

According to HCSO, seven first responders have since been released from the hospital; however, their conditions remain unknown.

The status of the suspect has not yet been released.

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