Police officer, 2 firefighters hospitalized after fentanyl exposure

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — A Portsmouth police officer and two firefighters were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment after fentanyl exposure.

On Sunday, March 10, at 1:05 p.m., Portsmouth police responded to a residence on East Main Road for a reported overdose.

Upon arrival, an officer observed a man in distress and rendered medical aid until members of the Portsmouth Fire Department could respond. The man was taken to a hospital for medical treatment.

During that time, the officer on scene was alerted to a plastic bag in a trash can that may have contained narcotics. The officer, while using precautions, observed a small bag of a white powdery substance in the trash can.

The officer then seized the substance and brought it back to the Portsmouth Police Department; the substance was believed to be fentanyl.

Approximately a half hour later, the officer started to experience shortness of breath, sweating, and disorientation. Portsmouth firefighters responded to tend to the officer due to the circumstances.

After rendering first aid, two firefighters began experiencing similar medical symptoms. The officer and the two firefighters were taken to a nearby hospital for the exposure.

The department was temporarily quarantined until the building was cleaned and the exposure had subsided. The police officer returned to full duty as of this morning.

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