LEWISVILLE, NC (WCMH) – An off-duty firefighter is credited with saving dozens of lives after realizing that something was wrong at a North Carolina restaurant.
Forsyth County EMS tells local media that about 30 people who visited the restaurant Saturday night experienced headaches, nausea and vomiting. Fourteen people were taken to the hospital, and the rest were treated and released from the scene.
Lewisville Fire Department Assistant Chief Steve Williams says the gas started leaking because of a malfunction in the restaurant’s heating system.
Williams says Lonnie Wimmer, an off-duty firefighter who happened to be at the restaurant noticed that people were becoming ill, so he called the fire department.
Fire officials at the scene confirmed the level of carbon monoxide was six times the normal amount.
Stephanie Miner and some friends were in the restaurant.
“What is happening to me? Did I get infected by that much? What’s going to happen,'” Miner told WFMY-TV. “It was not fun!”
“I’m just glad it’s over and we are all standing here. Physically standing here,” said Miner. “That’s good!”
Jenna Edwards with the River Ridge Taproom says they called their heating technician and the problem was fixed that night.
“We deeply regret what happened! I feel sorry for everybody that was back here,” said Edwards. “My biggest concern was for the children that were back here.”
Firefighters say the gas is no longer leaking and there is no threat to the restaurant.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas so none who worked at the restaurant knew what was happening.