Plant workers rushed to CMC-Lincoln after gas exposure
More than 30 employees at a Lincoln County manufacturing plant for tortilla chips and other corn-based snack items were exposed to carbon monoxide Monday afternoon inside the facility.
Director of Emergency Medical Services Ronald Rombs said that while 34 workers at R. W. Garcia had been exposed, they were in “stable” condition when emergency crews arrived on scene just after 2 p.m. However, 14 individuals had to be rushed to Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln for treatment, 10 of whom were deemed “critical.”
An additional 17 people maintained “moderate” levels of exposure, EMS officials said.
North 321 Fire Department was the first agency to respond to the plant, located on Progress Drive in Lincolnton, part of the county’s industrial park.
Firefighters immediately shut off the gas inside the building after detecting high levels of carbon monoxide, Rombs said.
Along with various other Lincoln County fire departments, Gaston and Catawba counties each sent EMS crews to the site for mutual aid.
The source of the leak remains a mystery and will remain under further investigation by the Lincoln County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Charlotte HAZMAT has also been called to the plant to determine the leak’s cause, Rombs said.