Nearly 50 people suffer carbon monoxide poisoning at Mormon church in Utah

Nearly 50 people who attended a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse in Utah were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, church officials said Monday.

Fifty-four people who attended the meetinghouse in Monroe, roughly 174 miles south of Salt Lake City, reported symptoms, and 49 were treated for elevated levels of the poisonous gas, the church said in a statement.

The statement blamed the incident on a malfunction with the building’s heating system and said church officials closed the meetinghouse until they could ensure its safety.

The statement said the church was “working to support medical and other expenses” for people who were poisoned.

“We are concerned for the well-being of everyone impacted and are praying for their recovery,” the statement said.

Additional details about their conditions were not immediately available.

Earlier Monday, the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office said that 22 people from the church had been hospitalized.

Authorities first learned of the poisoning after a 4-year-old girl at the church reported breathing problems Sunday, the sheriff’s office said. Roughly an hour later, emergency officials returned to the church for a man who was feeling sick, the sheriff’s office added.

After a third person reported having headaches after returning home, the local fire department checked the building and found high levels of carbon monoxide. The meetinghouse was evacuated, the department said.

The sheriff’s office said it didn’t have enough ambulances or personnel to treat the patients. Emergency medical workers and ambulances from nearby counties either assisted with the incident or remained on standby, the sheriff’s office said.