Thirteen workers at a Wheeling manufacturing plant were hospitalized Tuesday after an apparent carbon monoxide leak left dangerous levels of the poisonous gas inside the facility.
The workers all were in stable condition while being taken to four area hospitals, Wheeling Fire Chief Keith MacIssac said at the scene. An update on their conditions was not available Tuesday night.
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Authorities responded at 12:21 p.m. to the Durable Packaging International plant at 750 Northgate Parkway to reports that some employees were feeling ill. The company makes aluminum foil products, including bakeware, roasters, serving trays, outdoor cookware and roll foil and sheets, according to its website.
Testing showed that carbon monoxide levels in the facility were 200 parts per million, MacIssac said. Levels above 70 parts per million can lead to headache, fatigue and nausea, and anything above 150 parts per million can cause disorientation, unconsciousness and death, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
MacIssac said authorities immediately began evacuating the building, and all workers were out within 10 minutes of firefighters' arrival. Even though the building was cleared of the dangerous levels of carbon monoxide later Tuesday afternoon, the company sent workers home for the day, officials said.
The parking lot stayed busy during the afternoon, with dozens of cars and people moving both away and toward the building, especially because many confused workers had arrived about 2:30 p.m. to start a night shift.
The cause of the gas leak is unclear, but MacIssac said it probably stemmed from a piece of heating equipment.
Durable Packaging mechanic Cruz Cuamba said he knew something was wrong yesterday when he, along with some of his co-workers, had headaches and felt nauseated while working.
An employee of Durable Packaging International said Tuesday the company was not commenting.