Swarm of Bees Attacks Woman, Firefighters in Lake Forest

LAKE FOREST (CNS) - A swarm of bees attacked a cleaning woman in Lake Forest today, landing her in a hospital in critical condition, and then attacked four firefighters who were coming to her aid.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m., the woman had arrived to clean a home in the 23000 block of Buckland Lane when she was attacked by a swarm of bees, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said.

“When Truck 22 arrived on scene the first thing they saw was the female patient, about 50, covered in bees, including her face,” Bommarito said.

Firefighters decided they couldn't wait for special suits to protect them from the bees, so they rushed in with a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher they typically use for grease fires, Bommarito said.

“They determined they needed to get that patient away from the bees, so they sprayed them with a carbon dioxide extinguisher and in the process all four got stung, two multiple times,” the captain said.

The woman was stung hundreds of times and was taken to Saddleback Medical Center in critical condition, Bommarito said.

Her son said tonight she is doing better and is expected to survive, Bommarito said.

Two of the firefighters were also taken to Saddleback Medical Center and they were also expected to survive. The two other firefighters who were stung just a few times each declined a trip to a hospital, Bommarito said.

“They did an excellent job,” Bommarito said of the firefighters. “I hate to use the cliche that they made a life-or-death decision, but that's just what they did. Hopefully maybe she lives based on what they did.”

A company that specializes in handling bees was called to the scene to remove an estimated 10 pounds of hives, Bommarito said. They will also spray the area, he added.

The hives were “completely hidden,” Bommarito said.

“It looks like she opened her trunk” next to the hives, Bommarito said of the victim.

Photo: Getty Images

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