Dozens suffer carbon monoxide poisoning

August 29, 2008 4:16:43 PM PDT
More than 30 people were taken to hospitals after a carbon monoxide buildup at stores in Delaware Co. It happened at the Manoa Shopping Center in the 1300 block of West Chester Pike in Havertown.

Rescuers told Action News a woman at the Superfresh store started feeling light-headed and fell around 12:30 Friday afternoon. When paramedics arrived, their carbon monoxide detectors went off. The building was then evacuated.

"They told everyone to evacuate the store," said Mike Casarta who was working at the time this incident started. "They came in and detected it and asked everyone to leave."

Investigators say the exhaust fan in the bakery area of the store was shut off, leading to the carbon monoxide buildup.

There was also a high level of carbon monoxide in the nearby Rite-Aid store. People there were evacuated as well.

33 people, including a firefighter, were taken from the shopping center to area hospitals to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Everyone was treated and released. But one nurse tells Action News, it could have been worse.

"With carbon monoxide poisoning, if your level gets high enough, it can kill you," said Alice Maloney, R.N. "You just have to make sure there is good ventilation equipment. "

If people are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, they may need to be treated in hyperbaric chamber. No one in this incident needed that treatment.

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