Carbon monoxide emitted by a faulty ice-cleaning machine is the likely cause of illness reported at a recent Saskatchewan hockey tournament, health officials say.
No one was seriously injured in the Wakaw, Sask. arena on Sunday, but an unspecified number of people reported symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning.
The furnace was initially suspected to be the problem, but the Saskatchewan Health Authority said it was likely caused by a faulty ice-cleaning machine. It's unclear whether the rink had a functioning carbon monoxide detector.
"Carbon monoxide, it can have quite an impact … as we saw when it does get elevated. Of course, it's an odourless gas, you can't smell it," said Ryan Philipation, senior SHA public health inspector for the region that includes Wakaw.
Saskatoon Fire Marshall Brian Conway says it's important to install and maintain a carbon monoxide detector. (Jason Warick/CBC)
He said the SHA is investigating and conducting tests. They've also provided air quality fact sheets and other educational materials.
Philipation said it's helpful for rink officials across the province to test CO levels periodically. He said Wakaw officials have been very co-operative.
The rink remains closed, but they hope to reopen in the coming days, he said.
Saskatoon Fire Marshall Brian Conway said that with winter coming, it's vital to have a functioning CO detector and to immediately vacate any building suspected of high levels of the gas.
"I think people are becoming more aware, but things like this always brings it back to the forefront," Conway said.
"CO gas or carbon monoxide gas is a colourless, odourless gas. Realistically, you don't know you're in amongst it until things start to happen."