Carbon monoxide poisoning in Winnipeg motel sends 46 people to hospital

(Reuters) - Carbon monoxide poisoning in a motel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, sent 46 people to the hospital, with 15 of those in critical condition, the city said on Tuesday.

Fifty-two staff and guests were evacuated from the Super 8 Motel, the City of Winnipeg said in a release, after the fire department received an alarm from the boiler room of the motel at 10:19 a.m. CDT (1519 GMT).

“I’m very happy to say that none of the patients were requiring resuscitation,” Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Chief John Lane said at a news conference. “But their carbon monoxide levels were such that they were in the critical category.”

Carbon monoxide readings at the motel came in at up to 385 parts per million (ppm), according to the press release. Levels are dangerous at 10-20 ppm, and symptoms become apparent above 70 ppm.

Manitoba Hydro and the Office of the Fire Commissioner were investigating the cause of the incident, a city spokeswoman told Reuters.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said he hoped people would recover soon.

“In my recollection, and I’ve been around a little while, this is unheard of to see this many people impacted by carbon monoxide poisoning,” Pallister said.

Crews were working to ventilate the building but it was not known when the hotel would be ready to be reoccupied.

Reporting by Moira Warburton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sonya Hepinstall