UPDATE: At least 14 people complained of sickness after a carbon dioxide leak at a North Georgia Sonic Drive-In.

Walker County officials say the carbon dioxide came from the fountain drink machine.

The Sonic Drive-In off of Bushrod Johnson Avenue in Chickamauga is now open after the carbon dioxide leak.

A Coca-Cola technician repaired the machine, but an official with the Georgia Health Department says this incident is rare.

Logan Boss said, "We've never had that experience before and we inspect literally hundreds of food service establishments across northwest Georgia."

Boss says he can't recall another time a soft drink machine has been responsible for carbon dioxide poisoning; however, fire officials say it's more common than you might think.

James Yearout, assistant chief of Walker County Fire and Rescue said, "We've been to a couple because that's what they use to mix with the syrup to make the carbonated beverage."

Chief Yearout says carbon dioxide shouldn't be mistaken for carbon monoxide, which is a gas emitted from an exhaust pipe or a flame.

Carbon dioxide is the gas we breathe out when exhaling and it only becomes dangerous in large doses.

“It becomes more harmful at higher concentrations. So if you have an enclosed room, a leaking device, then yeah it can displace the oxygen and cause respiratory problems. I think headaches, nausea, vomiting such as that."

Channel 3 spoke to one of 14 people sickened at the fast food chain. She asked us not to use her name since she works for the business.

She says, “Everyone was having shortness of breath. Everybody's chest was hurting where their heart is and some people were getting headaches, coughing. Somebody else was throwing up."

A spokesperson for Sonic told Channel 3 the restaurant closed so repairs could be made.

The air was tested prior to reopening and additional preventative measures are being taken to prevent any future leaks going undetected.

The restaurant has ordered carbon dioxide detectors so this won't happen again.

Read the statement below: 

 


ORIGINAL STORY: One person was taken to the hospital after a gas leak at the Sonic in Chickamauga. 

Walker County officials say the person was treated for minor injuries related to carbon dioxide. 

The leak was from the fountain drink machine.  An employee tells Channel 3 the issue started before 5 p.m. Wednesday and got worse until paramedics arrived around 8:30 p.m.

The Sonic off of Lafayette Road will remain closed until a technician can fix the issue.

Stay with Channel 3 as we work to learn more.