OAKDALE — The city office building on South Sierra Avenue was evacuated Monday morning and seven city employees went to the hospital after they were exposed to carbon monoxide, officials said.
The Oakdale Fire Department was dispatched to the office, housed in the former Hershey visitor center, shortly after employees arrived for work at 7:30 a.m. Community Development Director Danelle Stylos noticed an unusual odor when she opened the building.
An ambulance took Stylos to Oak Valley Hospital. She told emergency personnel she felt light-headed and was having trouble breathing, fire officials said. Six other employees drove themselves to the Oakdale hospital as a precaution.
The seven employees were released from the hospital by early afternoon after undergoing tests, officials said.
City Manager Steven Hallam said a heating system in the building had a cracked heat exchanger, apparently emitting carbon monoxide into the office.
People breathing the odorless gas can suffer brain damage; an estimated 500 deaths result from carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States every year.
The building, which houses Community Development and Parks and Recreation, is closed until repairs can be made.
A contractor is supposed to install a new system Wednesday, then an environmental service will make sure the building is free of contamination, Hallam said. The office could open Thursday or Friday.
Staff members are moving temporarily to other city offices. People who need to conduct planning or recreation business should go to City Hall, 280 N. Third Ave., and city staff will direct them from there, officials said.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2321.