46 People Hospitalized After Poisoning From Carbon Monoxide at Hotel

By Victor Westerkamp

Dangerous carbon monoxide levels sent 46 hotel guests to hospital on Tuesday, July 9, after authorities responded to an alarm at a Super 8 Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

At 10:19 a.m., the carbon monoxide alarm went off in the boiler room of the Super 8 by Wyndham Winnipeg West hotel.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and the local gas utility Manitoba Hydro responded to the scene shortly after to find toxic elevated levels of carbon monoxide on the premises, according to USA Today.

The fire department measured 385 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide in the air. A bulletin from the Fire Commissioner’s Office of Manitoba stated that 0 to 2 ppm are normal and safe levels, whilst exposure to carbon monoxide at levels between 200 to 400 ppm can cause “flu-like symptoms” such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, loss of manual dexterity, and even loss of consciousness and death.

Manitoba Hydro immediately shut off the gas supply to the building. Firefighters and paramedics then proceeded to air out the building and investigate the possible cause of the incident.

They later established with the Office of the Fire Commissioner that a malfunction in the boiler room accounted for the sudden leak of carbon monoxide.

Manitoba Hydro later that day issued a statement on Twitter warning locals of the hazards of carbon monoxide exposure.

All 52 persons present at the hotel—staff, and guests—and a dog were promptly evacuated. The 46 who had to be admitted to hospital were taken to four different hospitals; St. Boniface, Seven Oaks General, Grace Hospital and the emergency departments at Health Sciences Centre.

“We can confirm there have been no fatalities, nor any patients requiring intensive care services,” Paul Turenne, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said in a statement, according to CBC.

Among those hospitalized, 15 persons were in critical condition, 5 were unstable, and 26 were in a stable condition, according to Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service chief John Lane, CBC reported.

Lane said, “I’m very happy to say that none of the patients were requiring resuscitation, but their carbon monoxide levels were such that they were in the critical category.”

Later during the day, most of the victims had been released.

The dog was being taken care of by Winnipeg Animal Services.

Motel owner Justin Schinkel told CBC “it’s a huge misfortune that this happened.”

“I’m super happy that the first responders got here as quickly as they did,” he added.

Carbon Monoxide from Water Heater Blamed for Killing Family of 4

In a similar case two months ago, a family of four died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their Ohio home.

The family of four had just installed a new water heater that turned out to have a big leak, according to police.

Gabe Reitter III, his wife Jennifer, and their children Gabe IV and Grace, along with their three dogs, were found dead in their home on May 2 when police responded to their home for a welfare check, according to a police statement.

Police said that testing showed that carbon monoxide levels were between 999 and 1200 ppm. The property did not have any carbon monoxide detectors.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), humans start experiencing noticeable symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headaches, at 70 ppm, with disorientation, unconsciousness, and death possible at levels around 150 to 200 ppm.

According to UPSC, there are on average 170 deaths in the United States every year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from non-automotive consumer products.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas, which is produced by the incomplete burning of different fuels.

Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this article.