A carbon monoxide leak sent 81 people who attended a hockey game at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena in Lake Delton, Wisc. to hospital, including nearly an entire Minnesota Junior Hockey League team.
Each member of the Rochester Ice Hawks that skated in Saturday’s contest was sent to hospital Saturday evening, including the coaching staff. The source of the carbon monoxide is said to be one of the rink’s two ice resurfacers, according to Minnesota’s Star Tribune.
Ice Hawks players began to fall ill during Saturday’s game, some unable to even finish the game due to symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Signs of poisoning began to show themselves early Friday, the Star Tribune reported, as an Ice Hawks assistant coach fell ill early Saturday morning. One player from the Dells Ducks, the hometown team and Rochester’s opponent over the weekend, had fainted and was receiving oxygen treatment.
Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune spoke to Lake Delton Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson, who said the reason the resurfacer was producing the toxic emission was the machine’s failure to properly combust the propane used to fuel to the machine. The employee who was tasked with resurfacing the ice didn’t recognize the problem.
Oddly, Wisconsin state law, Walsh reports, does not require carbon monoxide detectors inside the rink. The rink will be closed on Monday as the leak is investigated.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Mayo Clinic, include headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and even loss of consciousness. Often the treatment is to breathe pure oxygen or spend time in an oxygen chamber.
In January 2014, the Center for Disease Control released a report on carbon monoxide poisoning, stating there were more than 5,000 deaths between 1999 and 2010 due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Statistics Canada reported 380 accidental deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning between 2000 and 2009.