WHITE OAK - A 33-year-old woman training to become an EMT succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning early this morning when a generator inside a Champion EMS substation was left on overnight.
Victoria Ashworth, Good Shepherd Hospital marketing and public relations director, said the 33-year-old woman and three other EMTs were exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning and were found at shift change in the substation, which is next door to the White Oak police department.
White Oak police confirmed they began dispatching additional ambulances at 7:14 a.m., and city officials said police had to break down a door to gain entry.
Ms. Ashworth said officials are notifying next of kin, but did add her husband is an employee at Good Shepherd Hospital. The deceased woman was a part-time employee who was riding on the substation's truck to gain experience.
"One patient was transported by air, two others by ground ambulances to Good Shepherd," Ms. Ashworth said. "Two of those patients underwent treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, and all three patients are now in good condition."
Ms. Ashworth said the incident remains under investigation, but it appears a generator may have been left on in the building with the bay doors shut while the EMTs slept. She described the station as being like a fire station where there are sleeping quarters. EMTs are awakened by an alarm if there is a call.
A press conference is scheduled at the White Oak fire training ground today at 2 p.m., where officials from White Oak and Good Shepherd are expected to release further details about the incident.
"This is a devastating loss for us here at Good Shepherd and Champion EMS, along with our partners, Trinity Mother Frances," Ms. Ashworth said. Mother Frances Hospital and Good Shepherd are co-owners of the Champion EMS ambulance service.
Ms. Ashworth would not give any further details about the other victims other than they are in good condition.