Thirty-eight people were taken to area hospitals and 40 others were treated on the scene after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a converted northwest suburban factory on Friday afternoon.
At 2:01 p.m., the South Elgin & Country Side Fire Protection District received a report of multiple ill workers and one person passed out at a multi-occupant commercial building at 1190 St. Charles Street, according to a release from the fire district.
A South Elgin fire dispatcher said the building was an old factory that had been modified and was now used by several businesses. The building has been evacuated. The building had an estimated 120 employees present, the release said.
Several workers were complaining of headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath, which are symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide exposure, the release said.
Forty people were treated on the scene and 38 people were taken to area hospitals, according to the release. 10 people were taken to Sherman Hospital in Elgin, seven others to Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, 10 people to Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, seven others to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, and four people taken to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, although four people will be admitted overnight at Sherman Hospital, according to the release.
Fire crews noticed elevated carbon monoxide readings throughout the building with the highest at 309 ppm, according to the release. The recommended maximum exposure limit for carbon monoxide reading is 35 ppm for an eight-hour period.
The entire building was ventilated and it is believed that the source of the high carbon monoxide reading was due to two propane gas powered forklifts being operated in the building, according to the release.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been advised of the incident and fire inspectors will follow-up with the building representatives.
Kane County Sheriff’s police are investigating but were not immediately available to comment.