CATBALOGAN CITY, SAMAR – Twenty employees of the division office of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Catbalogan City fell ill because of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The victims inhaled the fumes emitted by a generator, which they utilized during a meeting because of a power interruption.
Some 50 personnel of the DepEd division office attended the meeting which was held inside a small room.
Two of them collapsed while 20 of them experienced dizziness and headaches two to three hours after inhaling the fumes.
The victims were taken to the Samar Provincial Hospital (SPH) for treatment, and 10 of them were admitted for further observation.
"Sumakit yung ulo ko, sobrang sakit talaga, di makahinga," recounted Maribel Ruedas, Catbalogan City DepEd supervisor.
Investigations showed that the victims inhaled the fumes from the generator because the room where the meeting was held was not properly ventilated.
"After 2 or 3 hours, na-feel nila yung severe headache plus shortness of breath, tsaka dizziness… so nag-suspect kami na carbon monoxide poisoning," Dr. Joselito Yulo, attending physician, said.
A DepEd official who attended the meeting said they placed the generator by the door and closed the door to prevent smoke from coming in.
"Naka-close naman siya, pero hindi maiwasn na may pumapasok. Siguro pag may pumapasok na tao sa room, nakakapasok din ang carbon monoxide," Michael Cabañero, administrative officer of the Catbalogan City DepEd Division Office said.
“Dapat yung generator talaga naka-face yung fumes nya palabas ng bintana ng bahay, windows ng mga bahay, yung mga sasakyan din…di tayo basta-basta dapat matutulog sa loob ng sasakyan or anything na closed,” Maribel Pedrigal, SPH chief of hospital, said. - From a report by Jenette F. Ruedas, ABS-CBN News Tacloban