Responding to a call about a mere bee stings, a group of first responders in Southern California, got much more than they bargained for Thursday.

Uninformed as to the actual number of the insects on the scenes, the team of firefighters and police officers were swarmed by around 40,000 Africanized bees while attempting to help a person who had been stung across the street from Pasadena City College.

Two firefighters, two civilians, and one police officer needed to be hospitalized as a result of the attack. All were later released from the hospital that night. Two others were also stung but did not require treatment.

The group realized the real severity of the situation after the first firefighter arrived on the scene. This responder took the most damage from the swarm, getting stung 17 times. After that, it was determined that the bees were taking up most of the block. The bright yellow uniforms the firefighters wore reportedly caused even more trouble, as the color attracted the attention of the bees.

“I've been with the fire department 18 years now and responded to several bee incidents,” Pasadena Fire Department Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian said in a statement to CNN. “But never to this magnitude.”

The group was aided by a professional beekeeper in removing the hive that the swarm had made in the area, which was located on the roof of a four-floor Howard Johnson building. The bees were dispersed using fire extinguishers and CO2, killing most of them and forcing the rest to flee.

The area was cleared by sundown and the beekeeper successfully removed the hive. The bees had reportedly been in the area for months and had constructed roughly six feet of honeycomb.

“The bees were very aggressive,” Derderian explained further. “Somebody could have had an allergic reaction and it could have been serious and or fatal.”

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