Duluth Hockey Players, Coach Recover from CO Exposure

Posted at: 11/08/2012 5:03 PM
Updated at: 11/08/2012 10:29 PM
By: Travis Dill

"It's scary and it's humbling I'll tell you that,” Steve Pitoscia said.

Pitoscia is the head coach for the Duluth East Bantam AA Hockey Team. That team was the first to notice the effects of carbon monoxide exposure after leaving the arena.

“One of the parents driving home, five of the kids all had headaches and upset stomachs and you know that was kind of out of the ordinary,” Pitoscia said.

Pitosica didn't make it home from the arena in Duluth's Woodland neighborhood. His symptoms were serious enough that he stopped at his parents house to call an ambulance.

“As I started to drive home I could feel my vision start to kind of close in a little bit like I was getting tunnel vision,” Pitoscia said. “I was nervous because my daughter was in the car with me, and I didn't, I was just trying to get to my folks house as quick as I could,” he said.

The Duluth Fire Department responded to the arena at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and evacuated about 30 people due to the dangerous carbon monoxide level.

Officials said two people were taken to local hospitals, but everyone has now recovered from the incident.

Officials said the carbon monoxide may have come from the rink's propane-powered Zamboni and a heating system.

Assistant Fire Chief Dane Youngblom doesn't think their investigation will take more than a few days, but he said everyone should learn form this example.

“Carbon monoxide detectors are very accurate and they're inexpensive and they could save your life. We recommend everyone have one,” Youngblom said.

Meanwhile, the rink will be off-limits to hockey players until the investigation is complete.

“To loose another arena would be devastating I think,” Pitoscia said.

The Duluth East Bantam AA team had been on the ice about two hours before noticing symptoms.