Moffat County residents treated for possible carbon monoxide poisoning
February 9, 2011
Twenty-four patients were treated Sunday at The Memorial Hospital in Craig after visiting the Jorgensen Event Center in Gunnison.
There was a report of carbon monoxide poisoning at the event center, where the Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team played a doubleheader Saturday and Sunday against Gunnison and Crested Butte.
After learning of players and fans from the Gunnison area being admitted for carbon monoxide poisoning, Christine Balderston, a parent of a Bulldogs player, started letting people know about the problem, Bulldogs coach Mark Samuelson said.
"All the players on our team that played in Gunnison went and got checked out at the hospital," Samuelson said. "Everyone was treated with oxygen and tested for their exposure level."
Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence, said all 24 patients were tested and released.
"The carbon monoxide poisoning was not limited to the players on the ice," she said. "We tested the people for their exposure and gave them oxygen, but no one was critical and everyone was released."
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Riley said none of the patients were admitted to the hospital, but some came back Monday to be re-examined for safety precautions.
When the parents and coaches in Gunnison found out about the potential carbon monoxide poisoning, Riley said calls were made to coaches and parents in Craig to get checked out.
"It was a big incident for the hospital because we got a large number of people in just three hours," she said. "Everyone got the care they needed and it all worked out well."
The Gunnison Country Times reported the causes behind the poisoning were a mechanical failure in the building's ventilation system and the rink's Zamboni machine.
Samuelson said he felt players were more affected than fans and coaches because of their exertion on the ice.
"Our coach that was at the game, Mark Bangs, did get checked out, but the players seem to be affected more," he said. "They seemed to have breathed more of the carbon monoxide in while playing."
Channel 9 News reported two Denver players were flown back to Denver for hyperbaric chamber treatment and have since been released.
A few Bulldogs players were also cared for and released from hospitals in Grand Junction and Montrose.
The hockey team will practice this week, Samuelson said, but participation will be at the discretion of the players.
"The guys are a resilient bunch of kids," he said. "We will have practice, but we will take it easy and see how everyone feels."
Samuelson said he is happy everyone is healthy and the incident is now behind his team.
"It was a terrible accident and just one of those things you don't plan for," he said. "It's something you don't want or expect to happen, so we are fortunate nothing horrific came out of it."