Food may be culprit for Saturday situation
Several people were transported to St. Vincent Clay Hospital Saturday afternoon after becoming ill following a pitch-in dinner.
According to officials with the Clay County Sheriff's Department, at approximately 1:29 p.m., a 911 call was made to dispatch regarding the situation, which took place north of the intersection of State Road 59 and Hendrix Street.
The initial call was for an ambulance and TransCare headed to the scene.
However, upon arrival, when it became known that others were becoming ill, officials notified the Brazil Fire Department for fear of a possible gas leak.
The Clay County Sheriff's Department also responded to the call.
"Initially, we were not sure if there was a gas leak," Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Gambill told The Brazil Times. "But we pretty quickly found out the culprit was food."
According to Gambill, several vendors were in the area selling antiques and other items as part of the Covered Bridge Festival.
These vendors had a tradition of getting together and having a pitch-in dinner.
"This is something they do every day they are out there," Gambill said. "The people selling items all got together and had food of their own."
Gambill said reports indicated that some of the people were passing out after eating at the pitch-in, while others were becoming dizzy and groggy.
Food from the pitch-in was collected and analyzed and after interviewing some of the people at the scene, investigators narrowed it down to a pan of cornbread, Gambill said.
"One item (may have) caused the people to get ill," he said.
Gambill added those who became ill -- more than 10 people -- were all drug tested. Two people came tested positive, but Gambill said the positive test could be explained from medication they were taken.
Additional tests on the food were scheduled for this week to determine what caused the sudden illness.
Some of the ill people were transported to St. Vincent Clay Hospital and others were diverted to Union Hospital. Others voluntarily took themselves to hospitals for treatment, Gambill said.
The Clay County Health Department was also notified of the situation, Gambill said.