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California officers fall ill in response to fainted Golden Gate bridge driver

Several first responders were ill in San Francisco as they tried to help a driver who fainted on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, authorities said Monday.

The incident took place around 11:45 a.m. PT on Sunday with reports of a disabled driver stopped in the northern lanes of a well-known stretch of U.S. Highway 101 that connects San Francisco with Marin County, the California Highway Patrol said.

Respondents smelled “what we believe to be fentanyl,”

; CHP official Andrew Barclay told NBC News, and the driver was immediately treated with Narcan drug overdose spray, “to bring him back.” Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that can be fatal even in small doses.

Shortly afterwards, a CHP employee who got into Shaw’s car to turn off the ignition became seriously ill, fell to the ground and “started convulsing and vomiting,” according to Barkley.

The officer was also given Narkan, and Barkley said the treatment “probably saved his life.”

Later, a truck driver, three other employees of the cogeneration plant and a patrol officer of the Golden Gate Bridge also fell ill and were treated in hospital on Sunday, officials said.

All of those first responders were released from the hospital by Sunday night, authorities said.

A hazmat team from the Mill Valley Fire Department decontaminated the car and several CHP cruisers that responded.

“Once this is a possible call from Fentanyl, we need to treat it just like we do with any other infectious disease or chemical,” Mill Valley Fire Chief Scott Barnes told NBC Bay Area. “We have to wear the right equipment, otherwise we fall victim.”

The 32-year-old man in the car was booked on suspicion of DUI crime before his release on Sunday night, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office and CHP reported.

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