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Carbon monoxide in Bismarck hotel pool hospitalizes four children and two adults

BISMARCK -- City officials say a faulty boiler next to a hotel swimming pool was responsible for four children and two adults taken to a local hospital on Sunday.

BISMARCK -- City officials say a faulty boiler next to a hotel swimming pool was responsible for four children and two adults taken to a local hospital on Sunday.

Firefighters were called to the Holiday Inn Express in Bismarck on Sunday evening after receiving a report that children were feeling dizzy and ill while in the hotel pool area.

Hotel employees had evacuated the subjects from the building by the time responders arrived. As paramedics performed basic treatment on the victims, firefighters entered the pool area with a multi-gas meter to assess air quality.

"They got an alarm for high carbon monoxide immediately upon entering the area," according to a statement from Bismarck Fire Department Battalion Chief Kurt Leben.

A second crew arrived to assist and found those same high levels of carbon monoxide throughout the pool area.

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"The problem was isolated to the pool area," Leben said, though firefighters checked surrounding areas as well as rooms above the pool area to be sure.

Crews identified a boiler used to heat the pool as a suspected source and shut it down. Firefighters ventilated the area and remained on-scene until the carbon monoxide was cleared.

In addition to four children and two adults, two employees of the Holiday Inn Express also were taken to the hospital for evaluation, "as a precaution, since they had been in the area to assist the guests," Leben wrote.

Dr. Niral Patel, a family medicine doctor at Sanford Health in Bismarck, said that symptoms of carbon monoxide vary, but include dizziness, difficulty walking and headaches.

Patel said the only reliable way of treating carbon monoxide exposure is through ventilation -- removing the person from the exposure -- and hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The length of the treatment depends on the severity of the exposure, Patel said, but those with mild exposure typically recover within 36 hours.

Even mild amounts of carbon monoxide exposure can lead to long-term health problems, Patel said.

"These people are at a (higher) risk of having mental and physical problems down the road," he said.

Related Topics: BISMARCK
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