Carbon monoxide leak hospitalizes local summer camp staff


SCHOHARIE COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Capital Region summer camp remains open after dozens of staff members were exposed to carbon monoxide. More than 50 people were medically treated at area hospitals after a carbon monoxide leak was detected at The Zone, a Jewish summer camp in Schoharie County.

“The issue was confined in one building it was a building that housed mostly staff members and a few members from our program for college-aged, those people are being treated in the proper medical care but the rest of the campus is not impacted at all,” said Wendy Kirwan, director of communications of the Zone summer camp. “The building was inspected before camp with proper inspections.” 

“I [saw] 70 people sitting on the floor, a few laying on the floor and I knew right away there was something…a mishap,” said Rabbi Yaakov Levitin, Head Camp Counselor of The Zone Boys camp. Rabbi Levitin wasn’t in the affected building, but when he learned what happened, he knew to react quickly.

“For me it was frightening, but I am well trained in how to keep panic away and how to keep everything calm and under control in order to keep everyone safe emotionally and physically,” said Rabbi Levitin.  

Over 20 local agencies were on scene Thursday morning, when officials arrived some staffers were feeling dizzy and light-headed. Officials from the Schoharie County Emergency Services say one of the hot water heater vents was closed, making the carbon monoxide come through the building.

As a safety precaution, fire officials inspected the other buildings on campus. “We’re very grateful it wasn’t anything more than it was,” said Kirwan.

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer and can’t be detected without a detector. “You can’t smell it, you can’t taste it, you can’t see it,” said Art Hunsinger, Former Clifton Park Fire Chief. “That makes it the silent killer.”

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