Brandy Sympreux had her 8-year-old son’s birthday party all planned out, which included renting a video game truck for the kids. She had no idea the trouble it would cause.

The Newnan Time-Herald reports that the Atlanta mother had nine children, ranging from 6 to 11 years old, show up for the birthday bash. It started out with excited kids, but not long after, Sympreux noticed the children seemed to be acting strangely.

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As the kids played video games inside of the truck filled with flat screen TVs, one girl had trouble making her way out. Sympreux said:

“One worker saw her lose her balance and caught her as she collapsed in his arms. He rushed to our door and said she passed out. We thought it might have been heat exhaustion at first.”

At first, they thought maybe it was the heat, but then other children started becoming ill and experiencing headaches and chest pains. Even the GameTruck employee began to feel shaky and started complaining about his head hurting.

Then the two youngest partygoers lost consciousness.

Sympreux said at that point, “chaos ensued.”

As the mother got all of the children out of the video game truck, she noticed a change in them:

“As they left the trailer, you could see the impact the fresh oxygen had on them.”

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, when rescue workers arrived, they found that the air-conditioned video game truck had the windows and doors closed up, and a generator was running with “with little to no exhaust.”

That led them to the source of the children’s sudden illness:

“After inspection of the trailer, we did find a (carbon monoxide) detector not working. It was chirping as if the battery were dead.”

Seven children and two adults were rushed to the hospital.

The shocked mother said:

“No one expected medical expenses from taking their child to an 8-year-old’s birthday party.”

Fire officials determined in the trailer had 25 parts per million of carbon monoxide around 45 minutes after they arrived. Craig Sherrer of Coweta County Fire Rescue said:

“(The carbon monoxide level) had to be pretty substantial for them to be poisoned in an hour and a half’s time.”

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that health effects of CO depend on the concentration level, length of exposure, and each person’s health condition.

According to the Mayo Clinic, warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle. They recommend watching out for:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Sympreux was surprised this could happen, but happy to see the owner of GameTruck Atlanta West’s reaction to the carbon monoxide scare:

“He was incredibly concerned and regretful about what occurred. Their first concern was the children, and they’ve taken full responsibility into the situation.”

She added:

“It’s not for me to determine negligence with their fleet, but I think people need to be cautious with generator-powered game trucks and ensure their detectors are always working. This could have turned into a very tragic event.”

All of the children who were taken to the hospital were released that night, including the birthday boy.

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