MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Three employees of the Martin County Sheriff's Office were taken to an emergency room Wednesday following an investigation.
According to Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, deputies received a phone call about 1:30 p.m. from what was later determined to be a small animal clinic or a veterinarian specialized in oncology for small dogs.
Snyder said it appears that the vet who worked at the clinic called 911 to say someone in the business was having trouble breathing and was very ill.
Deputies arrived and found a man, probably in his 30s, in very serious condition. The man was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
The sheriff said that, during the investigation, detectives initially thought it was an overdose. According to the sheriff's office, this was not the first time they have responded to the facility, and the man who died today received CPR last May for a possible overdose.
Snyder said the veterinarian who called the sheriff's office about the incident was talking to a deputy but turned away and left upon learning the man had died.
Another deputy responded to the scene of a crash within a mile or two of the business, not knowing it was related to the first call, and found the veterinarian inside the vehicle. Snyder said she was not breathing.
According to deputies, the man who died was a friend of the veterinarian.
"When the deputy got there, she did CPR -- closed pressed resuscitation -- and brought that woman back," Snyder said. "She started breathing."
Rescuers took the woman to a Martin County hospital in serious condition.
"There was a drug that would've been used in her industry in her vehicle, along with a syringe that leads us to believe that hers was an overdose," added Snyder.
The sheriff said the situation at the animal clinic could have been caused by some kind of medication that may have been spilled.
Three deputies who were investigating the death of the man started to feel ill causing them to be taken to the hospital. Two of the law enforcement officers were released a short time later and the third is still at the hospital.
"It does look like that there was some kind, I don't know what you would call it in the animal industry, some kind of medicine that spilled, some kind of drug," Snyder said. "It looks like there may have been some kind of reaction that caused our deputies to be overcome."
Firefighters were venting the business, Snyder said.
"There's no indication that they were exposed to an opioid substance," Snyder said. "It looks like they were exposed to some sort of chemical gas, something inside that veterinary clinic that caused them to be overcome and become ill. A couple of them became quite ill."
Snyder said the emergency room doctor "assured me personally that they'll be fine."
Deputies continue to investigate the man's death.
A MCSO detective, uniform road patrol deputy, and a narcotics detective have been taken to the ER after becoming ill during an investigation at a location where an overdose death occurred just hours earlier. Their families have been notified. We will update.— MartinCountySheriff (@MartinFLSheriff) February 17, 2021