Suspected propane leak sickens 12 kids in cabin at Sonoma Co. camp, authorities say

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
12 kids sickened after possible propane leak at Sonoma Co. camp
A suspected propane leak at an overnight camp in Sonoma County sickened 12 children sleeping in a cabin, authorities said.

OCCIDENTAL, Calif. (KGO) -- A suspected gas leak at a Sonoma County overnight camp sent two children to the hospital.

It happened Tuesday morning at the Catholic Charities CYO Camp in Occidental where as many as a dozen kids complained of headaches, dizziness and nausea.

The Occidental Volunteer Fire Department responded to a 911 call from an adult at the Catholic Charities CYO Camp- they were reporting a child having a seizure.

Paramedics arrived at a cabin in the camp located on the 2100 block of Bohemian Highway-and quickly escalated the emergency call.

"We found out the cabin was leaking gas. The smell of a gas odor in the cabin," said Torrey Farmer with the Occidental Fire Department. "Now it became an MCI- mass casualty incident because there were 12 minors in the cabin as well throughout the night, so everyone was lightheaded, headaches and not feeling well."

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More ambulances arrived and the young campers were triaged and given oxygen to determine their degree of illness. Eventually two were taken to the hospital.

"The degree of worry is higher when it's minors," Farmer said.

Officials suspected that leaking propane gas had made the children sick and an investigation into the cause got underway.

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The Western Propane Gas Association talked to ABC7 news and said that a company called McPhail Fuel provided the propane equipment to the camp and that the lines and tank had passed a safety inspection in 2022.

But the President of the Gas Association said they don't service appliances connected to the propane and in this case they believe a faulty space heater may be to blame .

Catholic charities CYO Camp and Retreat released a statement writing in part: "We are in the process of investigating what happened... we are happy to share that everyone is safe."

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