Fire Ants Kill Woman Planning Mom's Funeral

Such a death is rare in Alabama
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2016 8:46 AM CDT
Fire Ants Kill Woman Planning Mom's Funeral
Kalyn Rolan was allergic to the insects.   (AP Photo/Texas A&M University, Bart Drees)

Kalyn Rolan's mother died on May 19. Less than 24 hours later, Rolan was dead, too. In what WSFA calls "a story so tragic, it's almost hard to believe," Rolan, 29, was in Selma, Ala., making funeral arrangements when she was attacked by fire ants as she sat on a haystack. "The ants started coming out and getting all over her," Rolan's mother-in-law says, noting Rolan was severely allergic to fire ants. "My son said he grabbed her and put her on the ground, took her clothes off trying to help her, to save her, but he couldn't." She swelled until she couldn't breathe and "died in my son's arms."

Such a death is exceedingly rare, reports WSFA, which cites Alabama Department of Public Health records from 2013 to 2015 that show no one in the state died as a result of ants. It isn't clear if Rolan—a mother to two boys, aged 2 and 7—had an EpiPen, but a friend is urging anyone with a severe allergy to get one. "Losing a mother and a daughter together, back-to-back within a day, it's a lot for a person to take on," Rolan's mother-in-law says. Both Rolan and her mother were buried in a joint funeral on Thursday. A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover burial costs. (More Alabama stories.)

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