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Yasmeen BanderasAMARILLO, TX – A father accidentally killed four of his eight children after he incorrectly used professional-grade pesticide underneath the family’s home.

Peter Balderas was trying to get rid of mice when he placed pellets known as Weevil-Cide under the house. This pesticide contains aluminum phosphide is to be placed by two fully trained professionals at a time.

This product is normally used industrially in ship hulls or other large areas, and is strictly prohibited on single and multi-family residential properties. When neighbors began to complain about the smell of the pesticide, Peter used a water hose to spray the pellets in hopes of dampening the smell.

While I’m not sure if that worked, what is known is that when the water mixed with the pellets, phosphine gas was created and slowly leaked into the home that the family breathed in over the course of two days. On Monday, police were called after someone who stopped by to see the family saw that everyone was sick.

When responders arrived, one child was already dead. The remaining nine people were rushed to the hospital where three more children died. The deceased have been identified as Felipe Balderas, 7; Johnnie Balderas, 9; Josue Balderas, 11 and Yasmeen Balderas, 17.

Balderas’s wife was on life support on Monday but was responding to questions by squeezing her hand. Peter and his four surviving children were in stable condition in hospital.

Using an interpreter, Peter told police he had gotten the pesticide from a friend. Police are continuing to investigate and will turn over their information to the local district attorney who will decide whether any charges will be filed.

“This happens across the United States and it’s when people get a hold of stuff they don’t know how to use and they don’t do enough research,” said Amarillo Fire Department Lieutenant Josh Whitney. “If you’re going to apply chemicals to your house, have somebody that’s certified put these chemicals down and don’t put your family in harm’s way.”

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