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Health notes: Source of Fryberger Arena carbon monoxide still unknown

Members of the U-12 Icebreakers girls hockey team practice at Fryberger Arena in Duluth in January. The arena is open after carbon monoxide in the air sickened people on Nov. 7, 2012. (2012 file / News Tribune)

The source of carbon monoxide poisoning in Fryberger Arena earlier this month still isn't known.

Duluth Assistant Fire Marshal Jim Reed said a cause had never been determined, and attempts to duplicate the high levels that occurred Nov. 7, when at least eight people were treated with oxygen, have been unsuccessful.

About 30 people were watching or participating in a youth hockey practice just after 8 p.m. Nov. 7 when players, coaches and the Zamboni driver became ill, the News Tribune reported.

The air in the building had returned to safe levels the next day, as Minnesota Department of Health, Duluth Fire Marshal's office and Duluth Water and Gas Department personnel began searching for a cause.

The arena reopened late last week, Reed said, but is being continuously monitored for carbon monoxide levels.

Although everyone recovered from that incident, carbon monoxide can be deadly, the Department of Public Safety warned in a news release this week. It's the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the U.S. and was responsible for the deaths of 60 Minnesotans from 2006 to 2010.

The most recent victim was a 90-year-old Cleveland, Minn., man who died Nov. 12, apparently while attaching a snow blower to a farm tractor in a garage, according to the Le Center, Minn., Leader. His 83-year-old friend was hospitalized and was in satisfactory condition at last report.

Minnesota law requires every home and apartment to have a carbon monoxide alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom, the Department of Public Safety news release noted. If the alarm goes off, you should leave the building immediately and call 911 from outside. Tell the dispatcher if anyone is showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, nausea and drowsiness.