Mass Fentanyl Overdose in California Kills One, Sends 12 to Hospital

A mass fentanyl overdose incident in Northern California on Saturday left one dead and at least a dozen others hospitalized.

At a news conference, Chico, California police captain Mike O'Brien said one man died at the scene and four other victims are in critical condition, reported NBC News. "Certainly there's potential for additional fatalities," he added. "I want to emphasize that."

A person affiliated with the house where the overdoses occurred called 911 on Saturday morning at around 9:12 a.m local time. Responding officers performed CPR at the scene and provided six victims with doses of naloxone, medicine that can treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations. "It certainly would have been far worse without the response and dispensing of naloxone by Chico police officers," O'Brien said.

Exposure to the deadly opioid fentanyl caused the overdose, affecting both the victims and two officers responding to the incident, according to police. The two officers were transported to Oroville Medical Center for treatment to exposure after they reportedly felt fentanyl effects, but both have now been released, reported Action News Now.

Chico Fire Department Division Chief Jesse Alexander said he saw six people being treated with CPR at the same time and described the incident as the largest mass casualty he's witnessed of the same nature in years.

Santana Court, in North Chico where the incident occured, was closed on Saturday while the clean up took place. Authorities suspect the overdoses were caused by ingestion of the dangerous drug and a separate substance that is yet to be determined.

At 9.52 p.m. on Saturday evening, four people were reportedly in critical condition, two in serious condition and three others in fair condition. The victims—aged between 19 and 30—all seemed to know each other, according to police.

Fentanyl is the most commonly overdosed drug in America, according to a recent government report.

Chico Police Department did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

File photo: Police put tape around the area on October 28, 2018 outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. On Sunday, multiple people were reportedly injured after shots were fired at a downtown Phoenix Hotel. Getty/Brendan Smialowski