Duluth ice arena evacuated, several people treated for carbon monoxide poisoningSeveral dozen people attending a hockey practice at Duluth's Fryberger Arena on Wednesday night were evacuated by emergency responders after several reports of carbon-monoxide poisoning symptoms.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Several dozen people attending a hockey practice at Duluth's Fryberger Arena on Wednesday night were evacuated by emergency responders after several reports of carbon-monoxide poisoning symptoms.
The Duluth Fire Department arrived at the arena just after 8 p.m. on a report of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Crews found "dangerously high" CO levels in the arena, Acting Assistant Fire Chief Jarry Keppers said, and evacuated about 30 people from the building.
Eight people at the scene complained of headaches and nausea, and officials found elevated blood levels of carbon monoxide. Gold Cross Ambulance crews assessed several people, but transported only one person from the arena to a local emergency room.
Teams that had used the arena earlier - one for 2 1/2 hours - were contacted, and one other person was taken to a hospital from their home by ambulance.
Online schedules show that the Duluth Heights Mite 1 team had a practice from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Fryberger, which is off of Woodland Avenue near Hartley Nature Center. Several teams had been practicing after school Wednesday and a phone tree system was used to contact players who already had left the arena.
Fire officials had not immediately determined where the carbon monoxide came from, but said in a news release early today that the arena's propane-powered Zamboni, and the building's "aging" heating systems were possible causes. The incident remains under investigation.
The issue of air quality at ice arenas came up in 2010 when bills made their way through the Minnesota Legislature aimed at improving ice rink air quality, especially by reducing carbon monoxide and nitrous dioxide produced by internal combustion engines.
At the time, Gordy Atol of Duluth, arena manager at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and Fryberger Arena, said ice arenas in Minnesota are required to test air quality once a week and make quarterly reports to the Department of Health. He said the Zamboni machines at Heritage and Fryberger, which run on propane, have emissions tests once a year.