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9 people overcome by fumes

June 9, 2014

BURRILLVILLE – Nine people were sickened – two badly enough to be hospitalized – after gasoline fumes wafted through a dentist’s office at 262 Main St. in Harrisville Monday morning.
Emergency responders arrived at the offices of Dr. Allen E. Schenck about 9:27 a.m. thinking they might be dealing with a case of carbon monoxide poisoning, officials said. But Major Lareto Guglietta of the Burrillville Police Department said officers learned the noxious vapors were from a snow blower stored in the basement.
Harrisville Deputy Fire Chief Michael Gingell said seven people suffered symptoms of nausea, dizziness and feelings of weakness, but they all declined medical attention.
Two women who were overcome by the fumes, both members of Dr. Schenck’s medical staff, were transported to the hospital, one to Women & Infants, another to Rhode Island Hospital, both in Providence.
Officials said the gasoline was leaking from the tank of the snow blower because of a problem with a float in the carburetor.
“Somehow the vapors from the gasoline went through the building and made people sick,” said Guglietta.
Everyone who was evacuated from the building was either a patient or a member of Dr. Schenck’s medical staff, officials said.
The two women who were transported to the hospital were not identified. A receptionist who answered the phone at Dr. Schenck’s office Monday said both of the women are expected to be okay.
The dentist’s office was aired out for about an hour before anyone was allowed to reenter the building, Gingell said.
Harrisville was assisted at the scene by firefighters with the Pascoag Fire Department, Oakland-Mapleville Fire Department, Nasonville Fire Department and the Chepachet Fire Department.
Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo

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