MONROE, Utah — More than 20 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday after toxic gas was detected at a church hall of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in central Utah.
According to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, emergency medical services were called to the Monroe East LDS Chapel for two separate patients. The first was a 4-year-old girl who was having trouble breathing. She had been feeling unwell earlier this week and it was believed that her symptoms from her illness were lingering. About an hour later, paramedics were called to the church again for a man who felt unwell. The sheriff’s office said they believed the man was simply suffering complications from hypoglycemia and that he “sought medical treatment himself.”
Later that day, one family reported that they all felt headaches when they returned home from church. The Monroe Fire Department subsequently visited the building and found high levels of carbon monoxide. The building was evacuated.
Officials said multiple people became ill late Sunday and went to Sevier Valley Hospital seeking treatment. A church spokesperson said a total of 54 people reported symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Of these, 49 received treatment, of which 22 required transfer to other hospitals for further treatment. The sheriff’s office says those patients will need to go to a hospital with a hyperbaric chamber.
Neighboring agencies assisted Sevier County Emergency Hospital with the transport, which required 10 ambulance transports and more personnel than the county had available. Several other patients were able to self-transport.
Sheriff Nathan J. Curtis expressed gratitude to the various agencies and paramedics who helped care for the addict while also responding to other unrelated incidents in the community.
The church said in a statement that the leak was caused by a failure in the building’s heating system. The exact cause of the problem is under investigation and the building will remain closed until it is deemed safe.
“The church is working to help those affected with medical and other expenses. We are concerned about the health of everyone affected and pray for their recovery. ” the statement said.