MIRAMICHI, N.B. - Officials are investigating a carbon monoxide exposure that sickened dozens of workers at an assembly plant in northern New Brunswick.
Thirty-seven employees at the Sunny Corner Enterprises plant in Miramichi were sent to hospital Wednesday after one person collapsed and others complained of headaches and nausea.
Terry Nowlan, a production manager with the company, said it was possible the illnesses could have been linked to a propane heating system that was running low on fuel.
"Right now that's just a possibility, but we can't think of any other source at this point," he said, adding that he was emailing workers who were being treated with oxygen at the hospital.
"One person fainted and he had a fairly high level of carbon monoxide. But he's been taken to hospital and treated."
He said it was too early to determine the cause as an investigation by WorkSafeNB had just started.
Lisa Caissie of Horizon Health Network said that all but one of the 37 people sent to hospital had been treated for carbon monoxide exposure and released by about 4:30 p.m.
She said she couldn't reveal the status of the one person remaining in hospital.
Fidel Cormier of WorkSafeNB said officials with the Crown corporation were on site and looking at the possibility of carbon monoxide or propane exposure.
Initial reports indicated workers noticed an unusual odour, but Nowlan said none of the people he was in touch with noticed a smell. He said they evacuated the building after the person fainted and others began to feel unwell.
Workers at the plant assemble heavy equipment for the mining industry.
Const. Todd Chadwick of the Miramichi Police Force said the man who collapsed had regained consciousness by the time police arrived, but officers decided to evacuate the building as others became ill.
He said some of the workers were complaining of headache, nausea and difficulty breathing.
Police and fire crews were unable to find the source of the odour but have determined the site is not a danger to the public, he said.
© Copyright 2013