Carbon monoxide from space heater sickens Aquebogue farm workers

03/24/2015 1:32 PM |

Three farm workers were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center after they experienced headaches and grogginess from carbon monoxide emitted by a space heater at Wells Farm in Aquebogue Tuesday, fire officials and a farm co-owner said.

The workers were in barn that was being heated by a kerosene space heater when they began feeling ill, said farm co-owner Eric Wells.

“It’s a potato grading barn, a 40 X 100 building,” Mr. Wells said. “They were cleaning it. And we had a kerosene space heater, just something to get the chill out of the barn. But it started putting out carbon monoxide and once people found out about it, the barn was evacuated.”

Riverhead Fire Department Chief Joseph Raynor said CO readings were high when firefighters arrived about 12:20 p.m. and the workers were taken to the hospital.

“We cleaned the building out and had zero readings when we left,” Mr. Raynor said. “It was an enclosed space, a grading room with poor ventilation. There was one woman. They had severe headaches and one was groggy and there was just no ventilation.”

Mr. Wells said he immediately called police when the workers began to complain. The police then called firefighters and ambulance workers.

“A couple of the workers were starting to feel dizzy, and so we figured the only thing it could be was carbon monoxide,” Mr. Wells said. “So the people that were in the barn were taken to the hospital to make sure it was out of their blood. Everyone else was working in the other barns, where there weren’t any problems.

“The workers are getting checked out to make sure everybody is OK, and make sure everything is safe, that everybody is healthy,” he said.

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