Firefighter Prevents Further Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Inside Restaurant
On Saturday, December 10, 2016, off-duty firefighter, Lonnie Wimmer, was out celebrating a friend’s birthday with a group of friends at River Ridge Taphouse in Clemmons, North Carolina. During the dinner, about an hour and a half in, he noticed that people were started to act a little bit – unusual.
When someone is affected by carbon monoxide poisoning, they will usually exhibit symptoms like nausea and vomiting, headaches and dizziness – symptoms that Wimmer was able to see in patrons eating at the restaurant.
Wimmer then called the fire department immediately. When firefighters and paramedics arrived at the scene, 31 people were treated right then and there while 14 of them had to be (or opted) to be taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Without Wimmer’s quick action, these numbers could have been a lot higher.
According to officials, the carbon monoxide levels were about six times the normal amount. It has been reported that the leak was caused by a faulty heating unit located in the restaurant. Steve Williams, a Fire Department Assistant Chief in Lewisville stated that the heating unit malfunctioned and stopped burning gas cleanly.
The leak was fixed pretty quickly and the restaurant was back to business by Sunday morning.
Since carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas, it’s hard to detect without a carbon monoxide detector – something this restaurant did not have. For businesses in North Carolina, it’s perfectly legal not to have one, but after this incident, the owners might think it’s a good idea to get one installed.