Industrial size power washing truck believed to be cause of daycare carbon monoxide leak

Nov 30, 2023, 6:24 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm

DRAPER — The carbon monoxide leak at American Preparatory Academy’s daycare in Draper Wednesday afternoon made dozens sick, including several children.

“At 4 o’clock, we had a notification from our daycare director,” American Preparatory Academy’s executive director Carolyn Sharette said. “They were evacuating the building and they had called the fire department due to a carbon monoxide scare, they thought.”

Potentially 45 preschoolers and 10 adults exposed to carbon monoxide at American Prep Academy

Fire officials now believe a truck with an industrial sized power washer may have been the cause of a carbon monoxide leak that sickened dozens and sent several kids to the hospital.

“Carbon monoxide poisoning, it takes a long time sometimes when they’re low levels, but the symptoms, dizziness, headache, are kind of hard to know in a child,” Sharette said. “I think it was actually some of the workers who were feeling it, the adults were reporting it. It wasn’t the children so much. It was the adults who were noticing headaches and dizziness and told her.”

Draper City’s Fire Marshall Don Buckley said the truck was running for a least a portion of the day Wednesday and believes that the exhaust may have made its way through an open door at American Preparatory’s Early Learning Center.

“Every gas-powered machine puts out carbon monoxide,” he warned.

The building is located at 12892 Pony Express Rd. The Early Learning Center is in the building that also houses the district offices, which are under construction.

Buckley qualified, that they are still investigating the details.

“Our assumption at this point in time is some exhaust from it running came into the building worked its way throughout the building. Well, that can happen. It was power washer….But that can happen very easily. If you leave your garage door open for too long and run your vehicle you’re going to have carbon monoxide in your garage.”

Buckly called it an accident, and “the perfect storm.”

“It had nothing to do with the HVAC, the heating and air conditioning unit. It had nothing to do with that whatsoever. It was construction work being done. On the side that was being rebuilt and remodeled. That caused the issue. Things like that happen,” Buckley said.

More than a dozen people got sick from the odorless, colorless gas, including several children. Buckly estimates 14 people in all were sickened, with nine people going to the hospital, five adults and four children.

“We did have people that I didn’t know had a headache or were dizzy, so they went and got checked out,” Sharette said.

Some parents, he said, decided to drive their kids to the hospital because they were already home by the time they started having symptoms.

“None of the blood levels that we got back from any of our people who were telling us about their experience at the hospital said they indicated they were in any danger of life-threatening illness or anything like that,” Sharette said.

Buckly said everyone who went to the hospital has now been released.

He’s also applauding the staff at American Preparatory Academy saying this could have been much worse.

“This turned out very well. And I applaud the staff for that –and noticing a problem and getting the kids out,” Buckly said.

Buckly said the scare is a sobering reminder for parents, families, schools and daycares alike.

“It is a silent, deadly killer,” he said.

Sharette said the school checked all of their existing detectors to make sure they’re working properly.

“The fire department, they came in and found that the carbon monoxide detectors were alerting but not in an audible way,” she said.

They also had new ones around the building Thursday.

He recommends checking that your carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working and are on every floor of your home. Schools are required to have them. Many daycares choose to but Buckly said they aren’t required to have them.

He also recommends making sure vents are clear of snow, checking fluids, and especially those heaters.

“It’s a big deal this time of year get your furnaces checked.”

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Industrial size power washing truck believed to be cause of daycare carbon monoxide leak