Carbon monoxide leak at Pennsylvania daycare leads to 27 children being hospitalized

A view of the Happy Smiles Learning Center following a carbon monoxide leak.
(Image credit: Screenshot / NVP Media Services)

At least 27 children and staff members were sent to the hospital following a carbon monoxide leak at a daycare in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, city officials said in a press release.

Firefighters first arrived at the Happy Smiles Learning Center in response to a 911 call about an unconscious child, Allentown officials said. While treating the child, their carbon monoxide monitors began going off. Upon using a carbon monoxide meter, it was found there were "dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in the building."

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This prompted a massive emergency effort, and CNN reported that every ambulance in Allentown — Pennsylvania's third-largest city — responded to the daycare. Firefighters evacuated 25 children and eight staff members, officials said, and set up triage in the parking lot. A total of 27 people were transported to four area hospitals to be monitored, where they are all currently reported to be in stable condition.

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The cause of the leak is still under investigation, with Allentown spokesperson Genesis Ortega telling CNN were still working to "mitigate the problem."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year. The colorless, odorless gas can be produced from many sources, including burning fuel, car engines, and gas grills.

According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, and weakness, with many symptoms being described as "flu-like."

Higher levels of carbon monoxide can result in tissue damage, unconsciousness, and death.

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