What We Know About Sirenusa

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.

10 thoughts on “What We Know About Sirenusa”

  1. You might also mention that other extermination companies on island would never consider the use of this chemical …..

  2. We stayed on island in January. We rented a villa from a small individually owned villa company. The first morning we woke up to a very large, hairy spider (about the size of my husbands hand)on the tile by the kitchen. No chemicals needed, a big shoe took care of it. This is the first time I have written about the spider . We recognize when we come on island that we are in a tropical environment and there are bugs. The media grabs a story and puts a heavy sensational spin on it, this influences public opinion and terror ensues. The family is asking for privacy as well.

  3. St John EMS was the first to arrive and was the lead agency in this incident. St John Rescue is a support agency and was there to support EMS that morning.

  4. I have had adverse/allergic reactions to include 10 days of intestinal issues when on island recently.
    I’d contribute some of it to water, food handling and probably pesticides.
    I ALWAYS wash in hot soapy water every single item in the kitchen of a rental- no exception.
    “One tragic” reported incident- please be kind enough not to minimize two teenage boys in a coma and a father who can not talk or move….this is a travesty. Remember what’s important. Not a good time to be concerned with tourism but perhaps an invitation to take a stand. Let your voices be heard. Show the tourism industry there is a movement or united front that will take action to establish and enforce strict guidelines to protect the residents and visitors of lovely STJ.

  5. Virgin Islands Daily News reports “At a press conference April 8, Gov. Kenneth Mapp indicated that the joint investigation had found at least two other Virgin Islands pest control companies in possession of methyl bromide” Does anyone know which companies these are?

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