A Delaware family is fighting for their lives after their Caribbean vacation turned into a nightmare.
Health officials in the U.S. said they believe a powerful and banned pesticide sprayed at their resort could be to blame.
A criminal investigation is underway at the luxury hotel in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands after a family of four on vacation from Delaware was allegedly poisoned by methyl bromide.
The substance is a deadly pesticide commonly used in agriculture.
“It couldn’t of happened to a better family and better people and they are one of those families that everyone likes to be around,” Oliver Campbell, who knows the family said.
The company who rents out the villa at the Sirenusa Resort told CNN the pest control company Terminix fumigated the lower unit on March 18, right in the middle of the family’s stay.
The odorless, nearly undetectable gas attacks the lung and nervous system, causing respiratory and heart failure.
It’s so toxic it’s banned from use indoors within the U.S.
Even the World Meteorological Organization says methyl bromide is so destructive it significantly contributes to the thinning of the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer.
“It’s really scary to think that this could happen to somebody that you know,” Carl Marvin, a friend of the family said.
The father, Steve Esmond was found in a coma while his sons, 14 and 16, and their mother, Theresa Devine, were having severe seizures according to the family’s lawyer.
The parents’ condition improved after the family was airlifted back to the U.S. The mother has since been released from the hospital.
On Saturday the family’s attorney said both of the boys remain in a coma.
Terminix told CNN in a statement that they are, “looking into this matter internally and cooperating with authorities.”