5 men in hospital, sickened after going to the ATM

A hazmat team from the fire department closing off a service road at Jalan Besar, Sungai Bakap, for investigations at a bank’s ATM section. (Fire & Rescue Department pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Five men became dizzy and began vomiting after making withdrawals from the ATM of a bank branch which had been recently fumigated.

They had gone to the ATM of a bank branch at Jalan Besar, Sungai Bakap, at about 1.10pm.

They later sought emergency treatment at Sungai Bakap Hospital, where they were placed under observation. The men, aged between 23 and 35, were reported to be stable.

South Seberang Perai district police chief Shafee Abd Samad said a pest control company had finished spraying pesticides at the bank 40 minutes before the men went there.

He said a Hazmat (hazardous materials) team from the Fire and Rescue Department had not found life-threatening chemicals at the scene and did not make any conclusion on the cause of the incident.

Hazmat personnel speaking to staff of the bank in Jalan Besar, Sungai Bakap, Penang.

“We were told the chemical used by the pest control company was ‘Delta CID’. We have handed over the case to the health department for further investigation,” Shafee said.

Checks by FMT found that the chemical was likely to be Deltamethrin, a pesticide typically used in killing bugs such as termites and ticks, pestidcideresearch.com shows. It is also classified as a neurotoxin (a toxin that attacks the nervous system), with Wikipedia showing that it could cause asthma attacks as it is an allergen.