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FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) – Two people had to be taken to a hospital Tuesday afternoon after a swarm of bees attacked them and others who were going about their day at a Southern California strip mall, officials reported.

The violent bee swarm was reported about 3 p.m. at a strip mall in Fountain Valley, California, fire officials said.

Santa Ana resident John Madrid said he pulled up to the Sizzler Restaurant with his girlfriend and best friend for a meal, but when they stepped out of the car, the bees attacked them.

“I started running like crazy and they attacked my girlfriend and my best friend,” Madrid said. “I pulled stingers out of my girlfriend’s neck and she had maybe like 15 bees in her hair that I pushed out. It was a disaster.”

The bees also got inside Madrid’s vehicle because he left the door open while trying to swat off the bees. They also sent his friend running for help.

“I can’t believe it. My Buddy’s 315 pounds and he’s a big man, a strong guy and he was crying like a baby, ‘Help me John!,'” Madrid said.

Video from the strip mall showed firefighters and other responders in protective clothing walking around the parking lot, looking for a hive and spraying water from hoses on bushes.

Fountain Valley Fire Division Chief Bill McQuaid said people in the local businesses were told to shelter in place until the bee swarm was contained.

A couple firefighters were also stung, but McQuaid said they were not taken to the hospital.

The Orange County Fire Authority also responded to the scene, and additional resources were called in to foam the bees so the people who were stung could receive medical attention.