Swarm of Yellowjackets Sting Four Firefighters in Aquatic Park

By Bay City News
Thursday June 24, 2010 - 01:01:00 PM

A swarm of yellowjackets stung four firefighters who were responding to a small vegetation fire in Berkeley's Aquatic Park on Wednesday night, a battalion chief said today.  

The fire was reported at about 10:20 p.m. at the park, located at 80 Bolivar Drive, Berkeley fire Battalion Chief Bill Kehoe said.  

As firefighters were responding, one apparently walked over a ground hive of yellow jackets, which stirred them out of the hive, Kehoe said.  

The water being squirted onto the fire also agitated the wasps and they began stinging. The four firefighters were treated for the stings at the scene and released, he said.  

Firefighting foam was used to knock down the bees and allow firefighters to control the blaze, which was out by about 10:35 p.m., according to Kehoe.  

The fire burned about 1,500 square feet at the park. It briefly threatened one structure but did not damage it, he said.  

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, Kehoe said. He said there is a large population of homeless people in the area, but investigators could not determine whether they were responsible for the fire.