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Swarm of bees attacking people closes park

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Dexter Park has been cordoned off after a swarm of killer bees attacked several people in Dexter Tuesday.

Two employees with an internet service provider were repairing equipment on top of an unused water tower at the park located between Second and Third streets in Dexter, when they were attacked by the swarm, according to Justin Powell, chief of Dexter Fire & Rescue.

The two employees were on the water tower about 80-feet high when they were attacked and stung over 100 times.

They rushed to make their way down, with one of the workers leaving behind their climbing harness.

“Those bees were chasing them all the way down and they were screaming pretty loud,” Powell said.

Screams from the two employees could be heard in downtown Dexter as both employees ran across the street to the fire station.

Local police and firefighters showed up and the bees began stinging them. Powell said two police officers, three firefighters and emergency medical personnel were all stung.

The two employees were doused with water from a hose, before being taken inside the station. Both of the sting victims were later taken to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center. Powell said both were released late Tuesday, though one had to return to the hospital due to complications, before again being released.

Powell said all the other individuals stung are in fair condition, aside from the redness and swelling.

Later in the day Tuesday, the bees struck again when two police officers — one from Dexter and one from Hagerman — were putting up crime scene tape at the park. Powell said the two officers fled with the swarm giving chase. The officers were both stung.

Firefighters later in the day doused foam onto a bee’s nest in the park. Late Tuesday, a beehive was found by a beekeeper and destroyed.

Powell said the species of bee is so aggressive they could not be relocated and had to be killed.

Aaron Recie, a beekeeper called to assist with the situation in Dexter, said the species of bee found is a crossbreed of African and Brazilian bees that thrive in warm climates and are extremely aggressive.

Powell said a firefighter went to the tower Wednesday and encountered more bees. The park now remains closed.

“So there are still bees up on that tower, so we are going to have to revisit that situation,” Powell said.

He added that the city will let the bees calm down and see if they can send a bee expert to go up in the tower this weekend to assess the situation.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.