Sioux Falls, SD
We now know what caused several Sioux Falls youth hockey players and coaches to get sick this week.
Four players went to the emergency room after practice at the Sioux Falls Ice and Rec Center Monday night. The players that went to the emergency room had to be put on oxygen because of the high-levels of carbon monoxide they were exposed to at the rink.
Parks and Rec Director Don Kearney said a mechanic found that there was a problem with the carburetor on the Zamboni, and that the staff at the ice rink weren't running the fans as long as they should have.
"Whenever they Zamboni they're supposed to run them for 20 minutes, and it was inconsistent on the amount of time that they ran the fans for, so that was part of the problem," Kearney said. " And then there were a couple occasions where they just didn't run them at all."
The result of the fans not running led to the high-levels of carbon monoxide that caused 14 youth hockey players, and even some coaches to have severe headaches and blurry vision Monday night.
Kearney says the levels also were high because of a problem with the propane-powered Zamboni itself.
"There was a problem with the carburetor on the Zamboni, which I understand was letting more fuel by than it should have, which was causing more emissions than what is standard on a piece of equipment like that," Kearney said.
Kearney is relieved that they found the problems that caused the hockey players to feel ill, and that he can reassure the public that the ice rink is safe.
"If we follow our standard operating procedures, and the Zamboni is running correctly, the building is safe to be in, to be skating in, and we're just glad we were able to drill down and find out what the real issue was with the Ice and Rec Center," Kearney said.
Because of the incident Sioux Falls Parks and Rec will be installing carbon monoxide monitoring devices inside the Ice and Rec Center to keep an eye on the levels.