THOMSON, Ga (WJBF) — A call for help in a drug overdose left three Thomson-McDuffie emergency responders in the hospital Thursday.

“Three of our fire EMS workers started experiencing some signs of illness. Just didn’t feel right,” Thomson-McDuffie Emergency Services Chief Stephen Sewell said.

After responding to the scene of an overdose that left one man dead and another man needing medical attention, first responders were taken to Piedmont McDuffie for fentanyl exposure.

Chief Stephen Sewell said first responders can become exposed to fentanyl in a number of ways.

“If it’s in a powder form, it can get in the air and can be breathed in and ingested like that. If you have cuts on your skin it’s a possibility,” Sewell said.

He said drug overdoses are increasing in the area.

“It’s not just fentanyl, but people are cooking meth in all kinds of places, and if we respond to those we can get into some situations where we become exposed to the product and have to be treated,” Sewell said.

Sewell said Thursday’s situation shows how dangerous fentanyl can be.

“This event is kind of an eye opener for us locally. Nobody was seriously hurt from our playing field, but we need to remind our workers to pay particular attention when you go into these situations.”

According to the Georgia Attorney General Office’s from 2019 to 2021, fentanyl overdoses increased by 218 percent.

Sewell said in light of this incident he’s keeping first responders and the community aware of the dangers.

“It can be a training moment; it can be an eye opener and can make us all think twice when we walk into these situations,” Sewell said.