Edison, NJ - Twelve women and sixteen children were taken to area hospitals yesterday from a Truman Drive women's shelter after they displayed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the town's emergency management coordinator.
The women and children, all temporarily housed at Catholic Charities' Ozanam Family Shelter, were taken for treatment on Monday to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center and St. Peter's University Medical Hospital, both in New Brunswick; and to JFK Medical Center's satellite emergency center in South Plainfield.
In the midst of Saturday's powerful snowstorm PSE&G crews and the township Fire Department were dispatched to the Ozanam Shelter and detected concentrations of carbon monoxide in one part of facility after a woman became ill. After she was hospitalized, levels of carbon monoxide were found in her blood stream, said township OEM coordinator Capt. Andew Toth.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is slightly less dense than air and c. It is toxic humans and animals in blood stream concentrations greater than 35 parts per million, according to medical research.
Shelter personnel told Edison officials the facility had its own HVAC contractor inspect and service its heating systems on Sunday. Today, however, more women and children began to complain of fevers, nausea and vomiting “which resulted in a rapid and immediate emergency response,” Toth said.
On the scene at the Ozanam Shelter were personnel from the Edison fire and police department, police officers, the Middlesex County HAZMAT response team, PSE&G emergency crews, and emergency medical personnel from area hospitals.