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At Least 33 Children Hospitalized After Carbon Monoxide Incident At Day Care Center In Pequannock, NJ

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thirty-six people — including 34 children — were taken to hospitals Monday after a carbon monoxide incident at a day care center in Pequannock, N.J., officials told WCBS 880.

The incident took place at around 10:15 a.m. Monday at the So Big Child Development Center on Route 23 in Pompton Plains. Workers evacuated 90 people from the building after detecting an odor and notifying authorities, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

The carbon monoxide contamination at the day care center was caused by equipment used in contracting work on a church next door, officials told CBS 2’s Diane Macedo.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the construction project.

“They were using some equipment that operated and created combustion, exhaust, so forth. And some of those fumes permeated into the day care center,” Pequannock police Capt. Christopher DePuyt said.

A construction permit sign posted on the front door of Cornerstone Chapel shows they were doing interior demolition work using a small bulldozer called a Bobcat.

“There was a Bobcat involved, a small Bobcat inside the building, it’s a decent size space. Also, I was told there was a demolition saw, so some sort of cutting,” said DePuyt.

A newly posted red sign below it dated May 5 reads “stop construction,” Gainer reported.

“Everyone was triaged at the scene by EMS,” DePuyt told Diamond. “We did have 36 people transported to the hospital for very minor situations of just general nausea, not feeling well and some elevated carbon monoxide levels.”

Parents rushed to the day care to check on their kids.

“This is my grandson. His mother is pretty upset,” one woman said.

“He’s doing fine, all the kids seem to be fine,” a mother said.

Most of the patients had been discharged by 3 p.m., Diamond reported. They were treated at Morristown Medical Center, Chilton Memorial Hospital and Valley Hospital.

Officials praised the response from day care workers and parents.

OSHA is now investigating and says the contractor McEntee Construction, based in nearby Wayne, has been doing the work. OSHA said in 2010, the company had some scaffolding violations but the investigation at this site could take up to six months.

The day care center announced it’ll open as scheduled Tuesday morning.

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