Ice Arena machine blamed for carbon monoxide poisoning

More than 40 ice hockey players and spectators were treated in hospital after an ice resurfacing machine caused suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at Thebarton’s Ice Arena on the weekend.

Feb 12, 2024, updated Feb 12, 2024
Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said this morning that 42 people were treated, most at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, after the incident on Saturday night.

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

Spurrier said that all those treated were expected to make a full recovery.

“Carbon monoxide is a chemical that when it gets into your blood system, it attaches to the haemoglobin (and) means that it’s not so easy for the body to carry oxygen around,” she said.

“But it has a very short half-life and that means how long it stays in the body … is about four to five hours.

“We weren’t seeing massive exposure…so it would be very unlikely that people would still have symptoms right out at this late date.”

Ice Arena managing director Richard Laidlaw said a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine was the cause of the poisoning.

“We identified that it was running a bit rich last week and the mechanic had been booked again actually for this morning,” Laidlaw told ABC Radio Adelaide.

Laidlaw said carbon monoxide detector alarms had now been installed throughout the venue, following the incident.

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“We’ve done everything we possibly can to make sure it’s safe here,” he said.

“Of course the issue with the Zamboni is like a car, things do break down and wear out and that’s obviously what’s happened here.

“Safework are doing an investigation and of course we will be doing an internal investigation to see how we could avoid this.”

Fire crews attended the arena to investigate the levels of carbon monoxide and determine the cause of the incident.

The arena reopened to the public on Monday morning.

-with AAP

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