Farmville Carbon Monoxide Leak Sends 17 Workers To Vidant; Food Lion Reopens

An Eastern Carolina grocery store has reopened after a worker passed out and many others were affected by high levels of carbon monoxide.

Farmville officials say it happened overnight at the Food Lion on Highway 258 Business.

Fire Chief Lee Keel says they got the call around 2:30 a.m. The Food Lion was closed at the time for remodeling.

He says at first eight people were sent to Vidant Medical Center for carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, then nine more after it was a confirmed CO leak. Sixteen were construction workers, while one was a store employee.

Keel says in his 30 years with the fire department it was the highest level of carbon monoxide ever recorded. The chief says a piece of equipment used with the remodeling caused the leak.

The fire department ordered Food Lion to conduct independent third-party testing inside the store before customers were allowed back in. It reopened around 2:00 p.m.

The state Department of Labor was at the store investigating the accident. Their preliminary information indicates the employees were exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide while doing remodeling work inside the store.

Food Lion says there were 30 workers inside the store at the time of the leak.