9 fall ill at 8-year-old’s birthday party

Multiple children were sickened by carbon monoxide inside a video game truck at a birthday party in metro Atlanta.
Multiple children were sickened by carbon monoxide inside a video game truck at a birthday party in metro Atlanta.

With RSVPs from a bunch of rambunctious boys, Brandy Sympreux thought it would be a good idea to rent a video game truck for her 8-year-old son’s birthday party.

But 90 minutes into the festivities, the unexpected happened, according to a Coweta County Fire Rescue report.

One child began to walk with a stagger.

Two more fell out.

And another pair became “slightly altered in mental status.”

Instead of blowing out candles and eating cake Tuesday, seven children and two adults were rushed to local hospitals.

“For me, it’s traumatic,” Sympreux told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday. “It was close to loss of life potential, and it could have been worse.”

According to the report, all doors and windows to the truck -- an air-conditioned trailer outfitted with flat screen televisions and video games -- were closed and a generator was running in the back lower compartment “with little to no exhaust.

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

An air reading by fire officials in the trailer showed 25 parts per million of carbon monoxide after about 45 minutes of being on the scene.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the effects of 1 to 70 parts per million are uncertain. Symptoms become more noticeable as levels reach 70 to 200 parts per million.

“(The carbon monoxide level) had to be pretty substantial for them to be poisoned in an hour and a half’s time,” Craig Sherrer of Coweta County Fire Rescue said.

Three of the sickened children were taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The other four were taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. The two adults were taken to Piedmont Hospital Newnan.

All “are doing better,” Sympreux said.

The trailer was rented from GameTruck Georgia LLC of Kennesaw. Attempts to reach the owner were unsuccessful Thursday.

Sympreux said GameTruck has reached out to her and “acknowledged they are going to take responsibility for everything incurred.

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

Sympreux cautioned parents interested in such a truck to “ask about the safety factor” before renting one.

“I hope,” she said, “this is a teachable moment.”

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Police are trying to figure out who is behind the scheme.

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