Carbon dioxide leak at Sonic causes people to get sick

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CHICKAMAUGA, GA. (WDEF) — Employees inside a Chickamauga fast food restaurant became sick after a carbon dioxide leak.

Crews responded to the Sonic off Highway 27 on Wednesday, when more than ten people reported feeling light headed, nauseous and dizzy.

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They were checked out by EMS and one person was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Walker County firefighters went inside to check the area.

“They used a gas monitor to see if there was anything and they really couldn’t find anything. The oxygen levels were good, but they did find a leaking hose off the carbon dioxide line going to the fountain drink machine,” said James Yearout, the assistant chief of the Walker County Fire Department.

They don’t respond to carbon dioxide calls often.



“We’ve gone to one or two other calls at restaurant establishments that have fountain drink machines for similar issues, but it is rare,” Yearout said.

Carbon dioxide is generally harmless.

“It is in the atmosphere. We breathe it everyday. But the higher the concentration, the harder it is on us. Being in an enclosed room with a leak per se where there is not a lot of air exchange it can have some adverse effects on us,” Yearout said.

As for preventing something like this from happening again firefighters, suggest restaurants get a carbon dioxide detector.

The Director of Cmmunications at Soic issued this statement:

“The SONIC franchisee who owns and operates this drive-intakes employee safety very seriouslyDue to a carbon dioxide leak that occurred last night between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and was quickly repaired by 8 p.m., drive-in management closed the drive-in out of an abundance of caution to ensure a safe environment for the employees. The local fire marshal and an ambulance visited for a health check of the employees; there were no injuries. This morning, a technician continued to conduct a wellness test on the air inside the drive-in and has found no additional issues. The franchisee is in the process of installing a carbon dioxide detector in the drive-in as a precautionary measure and will re-open the drive-in today.”