Propane-fueled ice resurfacer makes 81 ill at Wisconsin rink

LAKE DELTON, Wis. — An ice resurfacer is to blame for sending 81 people to the hospital in Lake Delton, Wis, near Wisconsin Dells.

After a player fainted and was among those taken to the hospital, according to the Star Tribune, he is said to be in a hyperbaric chamber receiving oxygen therapy. Reportedly, the player is showing signs of improvement.

The machine leaked carbon monoxide in the air before a junior hockey game on Saturday. Once the game began, players were fighting symptoms and had trouble breathing. Several failed to finish the game. People’s symptoms included dizziness, nausea, headaches, vomiting, and fainting.

By the time the leak was discovered, many players and spectators had left the rink.

Every player who skated Saturday fell ill. Some of them were on the floor in the Super 8 lobby after the game vomiting.

Apparently, the resurfacer wasn’t fully combusting propane, and the ventilation system failed to offset the problem. Wisconsin law doesn’t require the rink to have a carbon monoxide detector. The faulty machine was scheduled to be inspected Monday, as was the other resurfacer. Both machines passed inspections just before the hockey season began this fall.

All players and staff have been released from the hospitals.

The rink was closed Monday as officials continued investigating the leak.