Roanoke, VA – Carbon monoxide leaked into a college dormitory early Friday, killing a man and sickening dozens of teens and adults attending summer programs at Roanoke College, the school said.
College spokeswoman Teresa Gereaux said more than 80 people had been taken to two Roanoke Valley hospitals complaining of headaches, nausea, dizziness and shakiness. She said an elderly man had died.
A few of the people collapsed and were taken by ambulance to hospitals. Others had milder symptoms and were transported by college van.
Nearly 140 adults and teens from across Virginia were staying in the Salem dorm as part of Upward Bound, a program geared toward helping teens pursue higher education, and Power in the Spirit, a Lutheran group, Gereaux said.
Members of the groups called campus police from the dorm’s emergency phone shortly after dawn, and the police notified the Salem Fire Department. Experts were still trying to locate the source of the carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas than can cause sickness or death. Leaks in buildings typically come from furnaces, heaters or other gasoline-powered equipment.
Gereaux said the dorm where the victims were staying was built in the 1920s and renovated in the 1980s.