Talladega County, FL- Seven members of a church just outside of Talladega have been hospitalized after being exposed to carbon monoxide, according to Talladega Police Department Capt. Ronny Jones.
The incident came to the attention of police late Friday night when a Westgate Homes resident called and asked for a ride to Citizens Baptist Medical Center. Once at the hospital, it turned out that half a dozen other people had been admitted with similar symptoms.
All seven had attended services at Freedom Holy Ghost Church on Landmark Road.
One of those admitted was a 7-year-old boy, who was later transported to Childrens Hospital in Birmingham.
Two of the adult patients were airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, where they will likely be undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Erlanger is the only level one accredited hyperbaric medicine program in Tennessee and has the only physician board certified in hyperbaric medicine in the Southeast.
Four other congregants were admitted to Citizens, three to the Intensive Care Unit. No information on any of their conditions was available Tuesday afternoon.
The natural gas line to the church comes from the Sylacauga Utilities Board. Jones said board technicians and Talladega building inspector Jerry Taylor visited the site and determined that a faulty heater was the culprit.
The problem has been addressed, Jones said.
According to the Web site www.carbon-monoxide-poisoning.com, symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning include shortness of breath and mild nausea and headaches. Symptoms of more serious exposure include headaches, dizziness, nausea and light-headedness. Longer term exposure can result in death. Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide can kill in minutes.
If you suspect you or someone close to you has been exposed to carbon monoxide, get them to an emergency room as soon as possible, according to the site. A determination can be made using a simple blood test.