Dec 28, 2005
Fourteen people, including two members of the Clinton Rescue Squad, were sent to area hospitals the morning of Friday, Dec. 16 after a carbon monoxide leak at the Clinton Holiday Inn in Clinton. The carbon monoxide emission was caused by a problem with a generator in the lower level of the hotel. The generator remains shut down and was being repaired last week by a contractor, said hotel manager Rick Sacco, on Thursday, Dec. 22. It was a blockage and a malfunction, Sacco said. [The generator] is not running at this point, he said Dec. 22, adding that the generator was not necessary for the normal function of the hotel. Ninety rooms in the hotel were occupied at the time, said Sacco. Because of carbon monoxide exposure, 12 people were taken to the Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township, while two others were transported to the Somerset Medical Center in Somerville. All were treated and released, according to spokespersons for the hospitals. Sacco said the incident began after a safety alarm went off in one of the rooms. Members of the Clinton fire and police departments were the first to respond. At about 1 a.m., the Clinton Fire Department asked for assistance because of the high carbon monoxide readings. They conducted the necessary evacuation and it went great, said Sacco. They helped provide the optimal safety for the guests. It was very orderly. Hotel operations returned to normal about three hours later, Sacco said. Also responding to the scene were the Hunterdon County Office of Emergency Management and 16 area emergency services units. The county Office of Emergency Management sent its mobile command unit and set up a command center in a parking lot near the main lobby of the hotel, said Frank Veneziala, county EMS deputy coordinator. Members of the Clinton and Quakertown fire departments checked each of the hotels rooms with monitoring equipment. After it was determined that the building was safe, guests were allowed to return to their rooms at 3:18 a.m., according to the county Department of Public Safety. The Quakertown Fire Department brought a large ventilator system that removed much of the carbon monoxide, said Chad Newsome of the Clinton Rescue Squad. By the time the Clinton squad arrived, Clinton Fire Chief Tim Langston was already checking rooms throughout the hotel, said Newsome. Newsome said that members of the Clinton Rescue Squad screened 115 people in one of the hotels ballrooms. Because of the large number of ambulances responding, a staging area was set up for incoming ambulances at the Commerce Bank parking lot on Route 173, he said. We treated everyone from young to old, anyone on the floors of the affected areas, said Newsome. As the evening went on, Newsome said that he and another member of the squad, Andrew Amante, began feeling ill. Both were treated for exposure at the Hunterdon Medical Center. The evacuation went well, said Newsome. The county got the command center set up quickly. We were very lucky. It could have been a lot worse, he added
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