By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 19 2017
Irondale resident Jean Clarke is thanking first responders for saving her life after she was attacked by a swarm of wasps at her home.
Clarke said she’d returned home on the afternoon of Sept. 15 when she noticed a small hole on her lawn with tufts of grass around it. Assuming that a raccoon or skunk had been digging up the lawn in search of grubs she went to investigate.
“I looked and that little black hole seemed to be moving” Clarke 88 told the paper. “I thought maybe I should turn around and leave this alone.”
Clarke turned toward the house but slipped and fell on her sloped property.
She said at once she was surrounded by a thick cloud of wasps.
“I had to crawl on my hands and knees” Clarke said explaining she doesn’t remember feeling any pain.
Afterward it was discovered there were three levels of wasp larvae in the underground lair.
“They had been well-prepared for the winter” Clarke said.
She made her way back to the house where her husband was there with his personal support worker.
“I just yelled and they both came” Clarke said.
Soon local volunteer firefighters – Clarke calls them “Gooderham’s finest” – and Haliburton County paramedics were on scene. Some of them were stung in the process of helping Clarke she said.
“Without them I wouldn’t be alive” Clarke told the paper.
She eventually passed out and when she awoke she was in the emergency department at the Haliburton hospital. A doctor told her she’d gone into shock.
Clarke doesn’t know exactly how many times she was stung having stopped counting at a couple of dozen stings.
“My left arm was just eaten it’s still bruised” she said adding the stings stop at her hairline as she’d just come from the hairdresser on the day she was stung. “Hairspray saved my head.”
Clarke wished to thank the volunteer firefighters who attended the call and the county’s EMS team with a special thank you to Jeff Schultz.
She also thanked friends George and Sylvia Claridge who picked Clarke and her husband up from the hospital and took them home for the night.
“They really saved us” Clarke said.