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Carbon monoxide poisoning sends 29 to hospital

Wed., Dec. 17, 2008

BELLINGHAM – Nearly 30 people from a seafood business sought treatment Tuesday for carbon monoxide poisoning, officials said.

Bellingham Fire Chief Bill Boyd said the people apparently were overcome by fumes at the Homeport Seafoods cold storage business. The Fire Department responded to a call at 8 a.m. about a person passing out. When firefighters arrived they found everyone conscious, but people showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can include headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Investigators suspect warehouse doors – closed due to freezing temperatures – trapped carbon monoxide emissions from forklifts, Boyd said.

In all, 29 people went St. Joseph Hospital with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Cloud. Four were later transferred to Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, where they could be treated in a hyperbaric chamber, which increases oxygen pressure in body tissues and the amount of oxygen blood can transport, Cloud said.

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