The man, said to be in his 60s, had gone back to his home while it was filled with fumigant gas to kill termites

By Jason Duaine Hahn
July 22, 2020 08:11 PM
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LASD Special Enforcement Bureau

A California man has died after he re-entered a home that was sprayed with fumigant gas to kill insects, according to a local news station.

On Tuesday, members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department discovered a homeowner's body after receiving a call about a possible death in Whittier, KTLA reported.

The man — whose name has not been released — went inside the home after it had been filled with lethal gas meant to exterminate termites. A tent was also placed over the building, pictures posted by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Special Enforcement Bureau show.

The sheriff's department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. The man is said to be in his 60s.

"LASD SEB SWAT operation in a contaminated environment in Whittier has concluded," the department wrote in the caption of their social media post on Tuesday. "Neighborhood safe."

Whittier is located about 20 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Special Enforcement Bureau
LASD Special Enforcement Bureau

The department's photographs show nearly a dozen SEB team members entering the home dressed in full-body protective suits.

Residential fumigation typically involves placing a tent or tarp over a building and filling it with lethal gas to kill pests.

According to the Structural Pest Control Board of California, homeowners must remove all people, pets and plants from a building before fumigation begins. Unsealed medicines, pet feed and food must also be taken out of a building or placed inside containers.

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A 2016 study from the United States Environmental Protection Agency said sulfuryl fluoride, the most widely used pesticide for residential fumigation, is "highly toxic to humans."

The agency reported at least 11 deaths between 2002 and 2016 from residential fumigation in California and Florida, the states with the highest number of buildings that had been fumigated.