Carbon monoxide scare at Adelaide’s Ice Arena to be investigated by SafeWork SA

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The manager of an ice rink where dozens of people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning confirmed changes to the venue will be introduced to ensure the health scare doesn’t happen again.

Firefighters from the Metropolitan Fire Service were called to the Ice Arena at James Congdon Drive in Thebarton in Adelaide at 3am Sunday to test for harmful gases after receiving a call from the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The alert was raised after 16 people, including children, were admitted to the RAH in the early hours of Sunday with high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning.

On Monday, SA Health confirmed 49 people had presented to various hospitals in Adelaide with varying symptoms after visiting the ice skating rink on the weekend.

“Most patients are being observed while some have required oxygen therapy,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“They are all in a stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.”

Ice Arena manager Richard Laidlaw said he’ll investigate how a faulty machine caused the carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mr Laidlaw, who has only been in charge of the venue at the end of 2023, said he had found no record of the ice resurfacing machine’s service history but it was serviced as soon as started in the role.

“The resurfacer like any other piece of machinery, they wear out and they (previous management) may very well have been servicing the machine prior to me taking over,” Mr Laidlaw told 7 News.

Mr Laidlaw also told FIVEaa radio the machine was also booked for a service on February 13 after a staff member raised concern about the running of the machine last week.

Ice Arena shared an update with its Facebook followers on Monday following the incident on Sunday.

“Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by recent events, and we wish you a speedy recovery,” the post read.

“The cause of the problem was identified to be an unforeseen fault with the ice resurfacer which has been decommissioned and the back up resurface put into service.”

The MFS confirmed the facility was safe with the atmosphere inside the rink registering 0 levels of carbon monoxide.

Eight carbon monoxide alarms were also installed across the venue to monitor the atmosphere to prevent any recurrences.

SafeWork SA will also be conducting investigations as to the cause of the incident.

It’s understood they will provide their official conclusions by Friday.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, tiredness, nausea and in more severe cases, shortness of breath.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier urged anyone with symptoms to get a check up immediately.

“Pregnant women and very young infants are also advised to be checked regardless of symptoms,” she said.

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