22 affected by carbon monoxide poisoning at YMCA swimming pool in Tainan City

Twenty-two people, including eight adults and 14 children, were rushed to hospital after succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning at a heated swimming pool facility in Tainan City this afternoon, January 7.

The Tainan City Fire Bureau responded to reports at around 5:00 pm of a carbon monoxide poisoning incident at the YMCA educational facility on Gongyuan Road in Tainan City’s North District.

Symptoms included nausea, vomiting, and some people fainted. The most seriously affected was 5-year-old boy who was sent to the intensive care unit of the Sinlau Christian Hospital. According to a Liberty Times report, the boy had regained consciousness by around 6:00 pm.

All 22 people were reported to be conscious, and no lives were in danger after receiving preliminary treatment at local hospitals, it was reported shortly after 7:00 pm.

Firefighters and city health officials investigating the case said that the heated swimming pool was located in the basement of the YMCA facility, and was heated using natural gas. Incomplete combustion, and poor ventilation are suspected to have contributed to the incident.

Firefighters arriving at the scene of the incident used gas detection equipment which measured the carbon monoxide level as high as 499 ppm.

The Central News Agency reported that the preliminary investigation found that the air intake valve on the gas boiler was not turned on, leading to incomplete combustion and the production of carbon monoxide.

Fire Bureau investigators examine boiler room at heated swimming pool facility in Tainan City, January 7, 2021. Picture: Tainan City Fire Bureau.
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