UPDATE: Dublin police said fentanyl was found near two janitors found unresponsive inside a Middle School Library Wednesday, shattering beliefs the pair had succumbed to exposure to a toxic chemical.
James Covington, 32, of Pittsburg, died at the scene. His co-worker and fiancée, 29-year-old Shameka Wilbon, was hospitalized and is expected to survive.
Family members discounted the police assertion that the powerful and potentially lethal drug fentanyl was involved in any way, saying that Covington and Wilbon were overcome by chemicals they were using during a COVID-19 cleaning of the school. Fentanyl has been involved in several local deaths in recent months.
Dublin police received a call that the unidentified workers failed to return home from their overnight shift at Fallon Middle School, 3601 Kohnen Way, around 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Officers sent to the school to investigate found the pair’s car parked at the rear of the campus. Upon further investigation, officers located the pair lying unresponsive in the school’s library, the smell of an unknown chemical in the air.
The unidentified pair were carried to the school’s open courtyard and emergency services were summoned to initiate further treatment. Unfortunately, the 32-year-old male succumbed to the effects of his exposure and was declared deceased at the scene, police said.
The 29-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Her condition was not provided.
A county Hazardous Materials team was unable to pinpoint the source of the chemical smell detected by police upon their arrival and believed to have felled the workers. An extensive search failed to turn up any trace of a caustic agent capable of overpowering the pair.
At this point the cause of the man’s death and woman’s incapacitation remains a mystery. Fallon School was found safe and free from any potentially harmful chemical agent, police said.