The Beeville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to Castillo’s Welding Shop just south of the South Texas Implement Co. after bees attacked several victims working around a welding shop on the west side of the highway.
Police and firefighters said the attack happened after someone operating a backhoe hit a tree full of bees.
Officers with the Beeville Police Department also responded, and within minutes several firefighters and at least two police officers had been stung.
One of the victims was Fire Chief Donnie Morris. The bees also stung other firefighters and some police officers responding to the emergency.
Firefighters were told to use fire extinguishers to fight the bees, at first, but within a short time Morris was told that the entire area around the welding shop was swarming with angry bees.
That was when Morris ordered that all traffic through the area be stopped. Portions of FM Roads 351 and 888 on the south side were temporarily closed as well.
Three victims, including two adults and one child, were sent to the emergency room at Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville.
Firefighters said a dog also was stung.
The incident started just before 9 a.m., and emergency personnel had the area mostly cleared by shortly after 9:30 a.m.
Although motorists passing through the area would not have been at risk if they had their windows shut, Morris said he wanted to get any sounds of engine noise away from the area.
According to firefighters, the bees flew into a nearby house and firefighter Jeff Silva, who was wearing one of the BVFD’s bee suits, went into the house to eradicate the swarming insects.
Assistant Fire Chief Bill Burris said no one was sure if the bees were Africanized bees. He said all bees would attack to protect their hive.