Plant still closed after 28 sickened in CO exposure in Lincoln Co.

LINCOLNTON, NC (WBTV) - Emergency crews in Lincoln County say at least 28 people, including a firefighter, had to be treated after a carbon monoxide leak at a plant on Monday afternoon.

According to emergency services officials, crews were called to the R.W. Garcia plant along the 3100 block of Progress Drive in Lincolnton.

At least 27 employees from the plant had to be taken to area hospitals. One firefighter also had to be transported.

According to plant officials, some employees at the facility reported experiencing lightheadedness and headaches.

The plant manager immediately evacuated the building and called emergency medical responders, who quickly determined the employees were experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fire officials called to the scene measured elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the facility and determined the cause was a natural gas leak. They immediately shut off the natural gas into the facility, plant officials said.

Nineteen people went to Carolinas Medical Center - Lincoln, while nine went to CaroMont Health in Gaston County.  All had been treated and released as of Monday evening.

Approximately 40 people were working in the facility at the time of the leak. Fire officials also declared the plant safe as of Monday evening.

Lincoln County officials requested mutual aid from Gaston County to help in the incident.

Officials say crews from Lincoln County took their "mass causality" trailer in an effort to have ample supplies on scene.

Charlotte Fire Department's HazMat team spent hours going through the building to investigate the source of the leak.

"While the facility has been declared safe, production remains closed as inspectors try to determine the source of the gas leak," said Genelle Chetcuti, Director of Marketing. "Production will not resume until the source of the leak is found."

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