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Carbon monoxide leak at RMG

Royal McLaughlin Gallery

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Approximately 20 children and five staff members were taken to hospital after a carbon monoxide leak at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

“On Friday afternoon at about 1:30, we received a call from city staff indicating they had high levels of (carbon monoxide) and some of the camp participants had (carbon monoxide poisoning) symptoms,” Fire Chief Stever Merringer tells The Oshawa Express. “So our staff responded, evacuated (the building) and a number of patients were transported to Lakeridge Health.”

Merringer adds that all those brought to hospital have since been released.

At this point, it is unknown how long the visitors to the gallery had been exposed to carbon monoxide, as investigators from the city’s fire department and Enbridge Gas were still determining the volume of carbon monoxide gas that was being released.

“That’s the trouble with CO. Based on their symptoms, it’s a combination of how long and what the readings were, how high they were. We haven’t determined all of that,” Merringer says.

The gallery wasn’t closed for long, opening back up to the public the following day.

“We were open Saturday and Sunday, back to business,” says Olinda Casimiro, the interim CEO and director of finance of the gallery. “We’re continuing the investigation and working closely with the municipality to investigate the cause. We’re getting there.”

Casimiro adds that carbon monoxide detectors were installed at the gallery as of Monday morning, and that any potential future steps will be decided once the investigation in concluded.

The fire chief says that the investigation has concluded, but the information was not available prior to the Express’ press deadline.