A swarm of bees attacked a woman and two firefighters who came to her aid in Lake Forest on Monday, sending the three of them to the hospital, officials said.
The woman was hospitalized in critical condition with more than 200 bee stings, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito. Her son later told the captain that she was expected to survive.
The incident began about 10:20 a.m. when firefighters were called to the 23000 block of Buckland Lane regarding the bee attack, Bommarito said. They found a housekeeper covered head-to-toe in bees. She had tried to run, but collapsed about 20 or 30 feet from the home.
With no time to don their protective gear, firefighters pulled out and discharged a fire extinguisher to get rid of some of the bees, Bommarito said. They then carried the woman about two blocks to get away from the bees.
Typically, firefighters are supposed to wear gloves and masks, and tape down their sleeves and pant legs when responding to bee attacks.
“The guys just didn’t have the time to do it,” Bommarito said, adding that the hive involved in the attack was large enough to support 30,000 bees.
The firefighters were treated at a hospital and released later in the day. Hours later, Bommarito said, they returned to work.
“They basically saved her life today,” Bommarito said.