‘I was very scared’: Parents relieved to find children safe after carbon monoxide incident

MOUNT HOREB, Wis. – Five construction workers were hospitalized after a carbon monoxide incident at a Mount Horeb daycare center, while 54 children were evaluated and released to their families Thursday, according to the Mount Horeb Area Joint Fire Department. Three children had elevated carbon monoxide levels and were treated on scene before going home.

Officials said construction workers were using a propane-powered floor machine on the gym floor at the Hearts and Hands Children’s Center. They said a carbon monoxide monitor was being used by the crews, but it did not alert them to the rising levels, which affected other parts of the building, as well.

Fire Chief Jenny Minter said the situation could have been much worse had the children not been evacuated in a timely manner.

“We’re very lucky that one of the workers did have symptoms early so they did evacuate children immediately and get them outside before a great number were affected,” Minter said.

“I was very scared – freaking out, actually,” said mother Karlee Pavlic.

As a parent, emergency lights can bring all kinds of thoughts to your head. For Pavlic, that meant  “the worst case scenario. I mean, I had no idea what to expect.”

She was relieved to have her daughter back in her arms.

“I was actually on my way home and saw there was a cop car there. I was gonna keep going, then I saw firetrucks, so I pulled around,” Pavlic said. “They said carbon monoxide, so I quick snatched her up.”

Other parents said they learned of the carbon monoxide from an emergency alert, including father-of-three Brendan Corrigan.

“We have high confidence in what they do here. The fact that they’ve got instant notification on everything and they told us everyone was out of the building and everyone’s safe, we don’t have any reason to believe it’d be different,” Corrigan said.

In a situation that could have been different were the children not evacuated in a timely manner, parents were happy to turn their thoughts to the rest of the day.

“I just want to get her home out of the sun,” Pavlic said. “She seems like she’s fine.”

“(We will) probably get home, stay inside, maybe get some ice cream,” Corrigan said.

Minter said carbon monoxide symptoms such as blurred vision, lethargy and headaches can be more serious in children and show up later. According to a news release from the fire department, families have been provided with information on what signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for.

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