As you may know, a family fell ill while vacationing on St. John last month. The family was staying at Villa Capri, which is located in Sirenusa, and was hospitalized after a suspected poisoning. News of St. John typically does not report on incidents of this nature; however we are making an exception today due to the numerous inquiries we have received.
What We Know: On March 20, 2015, St. John Rescue was called to Villa Capri.
Here is the statement we received from Sea Glass Vacations, Sirenusa’s management company, regarding the incident:
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Sea Glass Vacations, LLC acts as a rental agent for several rental units at Sirenusa and elsewhere on St. John, including Villa Capri. Sea Glass is aware that the family that rented Villa Capri from 3/14/15 to 3/22/15 all became seriously ill and were transported to the hospital for treatment. We are also aware that authorities are actively investigating the possibility that the illnesses were due to chemicals used for pest control. The unit immediately below Villa Capri was recently treated for pests by Terminix, however, Villa Capri itself had not been so treated. With respect to questions you may have regarding the application of chemicals, we direct you to Terminix. Sea Glass Vacations does not treat the units it manages for pests but instead relies on licensed professionals for pest control services. We are committed to full cooperation with all the authorities currently investigating this matter. However, as a rental management company, we generally do not share information about the affairs of our clients and customers with the media, and therefore will not comment further at this time.”
Here is a statement released by the Environmental Protection Agency:
“The EPA is working closely with the U.S. Virgin Islands government to investigate an incident reported to the U.S. Virgin Islands government and EPA on March 20, 2015. Paramedics responded to a call that a family of four staying in Cruz Bay, St. John became very ill. Family members were subsequently hospitalized. The EPA is looking into whether the family was made ill by a pesticide called methyl bromide, which may have been used to fumigate a room at the resort on March 18, 2015. The use of methyl bromide in the U.S. is restricted due to its acute toxicity. Only certified applicators are allowed to use it and it is not authorized for residential use. Health effects of acute exposure to methyl bromide are serious and include central nervous system and respiratory system damage. The EPA is continuing to work with the U.S. Virgin Islands government and others to gather information and will ensure that appropriate steps are taken if it determines any environmental regulations or laws were violated.”
What We’ve Heard On Island:
We have heard that all extermination companies on island were temporarily put on hold and that all chemicals on island were subject to inspection. We have been told repeatedly that this is an isolated incident.
For our stateside readers, you may have seen this on the news over the past week. For those of you on St. John, we’ve heard that both ABC and CNN are currently on island. We personally have been contacted by NBC News, but politely declined to comment. All I hope is that this family recovers quickly and that our little slice of heaven is not tarnished but one horribly tragic incident.