Carbon monoxide poisoning injures 5 workers

March 26, 2008 2:04:40 PM PDT
Carbon monoxide poisoning sent five New Jersey construction workers to the hospital Wednesday. According to police, the men were also sleeping in the strip mall dollar-store they were renovating in Berlin Township.

Berlin police Lt. Paul Miller said the men were discovered Wednesday morning after authorities received a call that a disoriented man was wandering around a parking lot. The other four workers were found inside the store; one was unconscious, he said.

The men ranged in age from 21 to 34 and were all from Lakewood, he said. Their names were not released.

Police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials were investigating.

Miller said a decision would be made later on whether to press criminal charges against those responsible for the work site, which he said included kerosene heaters, fuel and paint thinners.

The work permit for the site listed the general contractor as ABSH Custom Construction in Lakewood, and the construction site owner as Armstrong Capital in Valley Stream, N.Y., said Valerie Tarus, an assistant in the borough's construction and zoning office.

Donny Furer, an executive at Armstrong, declined to comment, saying the contractor was in charge of the site.

Jack Goldstein, who answered the phone at ABSH, blamed the poisonings on an "irresponsible subcontractor" whom he declined to name.

"As far as I understand, all the workers are fine. I don't think anything will come of it," Goldstein said. "They're all fine, thank God,"