LOCAL NEWS

17 people recovering after carbon monoxide poisoning at central Utah clinic

Jan 24, 2023, 9:34 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2023, 5:26 pm

EPHRAIM, UtahA mental health clinic will reopen on Thursday after a carbon monoxide leak sent at least 17 people to the hospital.

The Central Utah Counseling Center in Ephraim was evacuated a week ago after a problem with an old furnace was discovered. People started feeling sick, with a variety of symptoms like headaches.

At least 10 staffers and seven clients were checked out or treated in hospitals, according to Nathan Strait, the center’s CEO.

Two employees were in such bad shape that they were rushed to a local hospital and then to Utah Valley Hospital, where many of the staff have since received hyperbaric chamber treatments. One worker received six treatments, and some have lingering effects.

“There’s still a few with headaches, a little bit of dizziness,” Strait said.

No one was hospitalized overnight, and all staff are now feeling well enough to return to work, he said.

Britany Havens and her four kids had been noticing headaches after therapy appointments for a couple of months now, with more serious symptoms in the past two weeks. 

“My oldest son told me that when he was leaving therapy, he was seeing ‘floaters’ floating in front of him,” Havens said, “and he was really dizzy and nauseous and had to brace himself walking out.”

Havens wonders how long the carbon monoxide has been leaking. 

Strait told KSL TV that’s unclear. He said a maintenance worker doing a routine check on Jan. 18 spotted the issue with the natural gas furnace emitting high levels of carbon monoxide. The building was quickly evacuated.

“It really could’ve been quite tragic because they weren’t correlating their symptoms with the carbon monoxide that was filling their rooms,” Strait said.

“For some of the staff, it’s been very difficult,” he added. “They’ve had to take time off work, be away from family, have to be transported up to Utah Valley Hospital. It’s been challenging. There’s some that are quite nervous about being at work.”

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation, including interviews with all of the employees who were sickened, Strait said.

The building, which was constructed in 1998, has four furnaces. One was replaced last year, while the other three were original, Strait said.

A company is replacing all three of the old furnaces before the building reopens.

Strait said a heating and air conditioning company did a visual inspection in November and reported no issues with the furnaces.

Central Utah Counseling Center has added three carbon monoxide detectors to the building, Strait said. The maintenance worker has also added the detectors to seven other facilities managed by the organization in the region.

Havens is calling for a change to state regulations that would require public and commercial buildings to have working carbon monoxide detectors.

“I really would like to see a change in Utah’s policies that offices should have to have it,” Havens said. “Not just medical offices but all commercial buildings should have to have it because people shouldn’t have to go through this.”

Stait hopes Utahns use this as an opportunity to double check that their homes and workplaces have the detectors, which can prevent emergencies like this.

“It’s something pretty serious,” Strait said, “and I had no idea until I saw the results on my staff and the results on the clients. It’s not a pretty picture. It’s pretty scary considering what could’ve happened.”

Central Utah Counseling Center is a publicly funded organization that serves mostly lower-income individuals struggling with mental illness and substance abuse issues. The offices – eight locations spread across six central Utah counties – take Medicaid patients and have contracts with the counties, the state and the federal government.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A local mutual aid grassroots organization, the Coconut Hut, has been providing those who are homel...

Brianna Chavez

Grassroots group aids those unsheltered during extreme heat

A local mutual aid grass roots organization, the Coconut Hut, has been providing those who are homeless with water, other items, and tools.

10 hours ago

Family, friends and those who worked closely with an American Fork couple who died this week honore...

Shelby Lofton

‘We stand with them’: Community members rally around family of American Fork couple found dead in murder-suicide

Family, friends and those who worked closely with an American Fork couple who died this week honored them with a candlelight vigil Sunday night. 

10 hours ago

The Utah Department of Transportation confirmed potential heat damage to Riverdale Road caused lane...

Emma Keddington, KSL NewsRadio

Riverdale Road sustains heat damage, causes lane closures

The Utah Department of Transportation confirmed potential heat damage to Riverdale Road caused lane closures on Sunday evening.

12 hours ago

(Salt Lake City Police Department)...

Emma Keddington, KSL NewsRadio

Man arrested at airport in connection to Salt Lake City homicide

Police arrested a man Sunday afternoon at Salt Lake City International Airport in connection to a homicide earlier this year.

13 hours ago

A father and son are safe after being rescued from a river up Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday. (...

Mark Jones

Father, son are OK after being rescued from river in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A father and son are safe after being rescued from a river up Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday.

13 hours ago

A fire in West Valley City at Redman Van & Storage. Fire officials say the fire spread to an adjace...

Emma Keddington, KSL NewsRadio

West Valley City grass fire spreads and destroys four semi-trailers

A shorted powerline caused a fire that spread to a structure in West Valley Sunday afternoon. The fire appeared to be located in the lot of Redman Van & Storage.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

17 people recovering after carbon monoxide poisoning at central Utah clinic