HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two dozen warehouse workers in southeast Houston were treated at the hospital for an invisible danger.
According to Houston Fire Department, at least 24 people were sickened by a carbon monoxide leak, with the possibility of more being treated. Twenty-one people were transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, while the remaining patients were taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center.
Fire officials say it all started when dozens of Hardie's employees came out complaining of nausea, headache, and dizziness.
HFD set up a triage on Produce Row and treated as many people as they could on scene.
It's believed that a contractor was running a piece of machinery indoors, which created the carbon monoxide exposure - a majority of which was in the processing area.
There were no signs of a working carbon monoxide detector and no confirmation on how long the dangerous gas had been circulating.
HFD says it's just glad it got to the employees when they did.
"CO level, if you get it early enough and you get out, you just don't want to have multiple exposures to it. That's an issue. I'm hoping, I don't know for sure, but we hope the levels weren't too high. Because you have acute and one time exposure - that appears to be what they have. Hopefully, it didn't get that high," said Deputy Chief Blake White, of HFD. "They're going to put them in hyperbaric chambers, probably over at Memorial Hermann, to deal with the CO. Basically, get the CO out of their system."
The fire department did not know the name of the contractor who may have been responsible. Officials were also still figuring out whether there will be any criminal consequences.
An industrial hygienist has to be called to clear out the building before work can continue.
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24 people transported to hospital after carbon monoxide incident in SE Houston
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