Manitowoc, WI Poisoning Sickened Several People

The Manitowoc, WI poisoning affected several people in the apartments and a restaurant in the building on Washington Street on October 31, 2016. The story was reported in the Herald Times Reporter. The first responders had a rescue squad set up on Washington Street, where sick, some unconscious people were being carried. This is almost like a scene from a horror movie, numerous unconscious bodies being carried out of a building.

The Fire Department had discovered that there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the building, banning anyone else from entering. One of the officers at the scene observed two firemen carrying an unconscious male down the steps. He assisted lifting the male onto a gurney and to the rescue squad, where he would be transported to the hospital.

This unconscious male was not the only one who was injured from the Manitowoc, WI poisoning, which affected both a restaurant and the apartments above. There were three victims from Apt. 5; one from Apt. 3; one from Apt. 2; and five from Apt. 1. Four employees of the cafe were affected, and three customers. That makes a total of 17 victims who were transported to local hospitals after authorities arrived at 9:15 that morning.

Manitowoc, WI poisoning

This is a shot of the inside of Susie Kay’s Cafe, the site of the Manitowoc, WI poisoning. It is located at 1110 Washington St. (Facebook)

The restaurant was cleared of all employees and customers that morning, too. An investigation into the source of the carbon monoxide was done that day, while the restaurant was closed until further notice.

Victims of the Manitowoc, WI Poisoning

The emergency call was made from Apt. 5 from the family who said they were not feeling well. When emergency personnel arrived, they found an adult male, adult female, and child all unconscious.

The victim from Apt. 3 was unconscious when removed by emergency personnel. In the ambulance, he coded, and was transported by helicopter to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee.

Manitowoc, WI Poisoning

There was one victim in the Manitowoc, WI poisoning that had to be flown by helicopter to the hospital.

The resident in Apt. 2 was identified as conscious and was removed from the building. In Apt. 5, there was a family of four babysitting a third child. All five of them were found unconscious. Apt. 4 was empty.

According to Wisconsin law, multifamily residences are required to have carbon monoxide detectors to be provided by the landlord. Rep. Paul Tittl was owner of the building. Tittl owns 1106, 1108, 1110, and 1112 Washington St. When asked if the units had carbon monoxide detectors in them, Tittl replied that he did not believe so. The fire chief confirmed that no carbon monoxide detectors were found in the apartments, hallways, or the restaurant. Complying with the law and installing CO detectors could have been an easy way to prevent the tragedy.  

In the cafe, there were five customers and four employees. Two customers left before being identified, leaving three customers who sought medical treatment after the poisoning. Some areas of the building were more than 300 ppm. The problem with carbon monoxide poisoning is that the symptoms can appear weeks after the actual poisoning. This phenomenon is called delayed neurological sequelae, so it’s important to receive medical treatment and follow up.

Manitowoc, WI Poisoning

Neurological symptoms can crop up in the weeks following a carbon monoxide poisoning. There were several unconscious people in the Manitowoc, WI poisoning that probably have faced neurological issues after the incident.

Cause of Manitowoc, WI Poisoning Speculated

It was speculated in the police report that the source of the carbon monoxide poisoning was a blocked vent. It’s also possible the low water safety sensor on the boiler failed. If there is not enough water in the boiler, the tank could overheat and break and then gas could leak out. Upon examination of the heat exchanger, there were areas where the silicon had melted away and there were gaps. This is definitely an area where the carbon monoxide gas could have leaked.

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