Watford City laundromat incident sends 14 people to hospital

WATFORD CITY Fourteen people were being treated at a Watford City hospital as of 4 p.m. Sunday following an incident at a laundromat in Watford City. None of the injuries were believed to be life threatening.

The North Dakota Department of Health is working with McKenzie County emergency responders to investigate the incident that began around noon on Sunday.

Just before noon Watford City police and EMS responded to a call that an 18-year-old female had passed out at the laundromat. The woman was taken to the hospital.

After the initial call, other victims went to or were taken to the hospital from the same laundromat. The fire department was also called to the scene, as well as Montana-Dakota Utilities and the health department’s Environmental Response Team.

It is initially believed that an exhaust from a malfunctioning vent from a boiler venting into the laundry mat, a graffiti degreaser and a bleach cocktail that were being used to wash clothes and a high concentration of CO in the air were causing people to become ill.

Emergency personnel were on hand from Watford City, as well as environmental health personnel from the health department to further investigate the incident. The laundromat was cordoned off and the gas line shut off from the building.

The laundromat will remain closed until a full investigation is undertaken.