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Transportation and Mobility

Carbon Dioxide Leak At LAX Sickened 4 Workers And Temporarily Shut Down Terminal 8

A Uniter Airlines plane on a tarmac near the terminal
A United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac earlier this year. Activity at Terminal 8 — United's main terminal — was disrupted Halloween morning due to a carbon dioxide leak.
(Daniel Slim
AFP via Getty Images)
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Terminal 8 at LAX re-opened after being closed down due to a carbon dioxide leak that sickened at least four workers this morning, leaving one of them in critical condition.

What happened: Brian Humphreys, a spokesperson for the L.A. Fire Department says the leak was caused by a fire suppression system inside a utility room. United Airlines, which operates out of Terminal 8, consolidated flights in and out of Terminal 7, according to LAX officials, until the area was cleared for use. The shutdown lasted from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Why that's worrisome: Humphreys explained:

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The systems that utilize carbon dioxide typically dump the colorless odorless gas into the room instantly. It could completely fill an area and it displaces all oxygen so a person could become unconscious and eventually stop breathing in a matter of moments. So it's something that you can't see ... you can't taste. It's hard to prepare for but when a system's activated it's important for people to remove themselves."

What's next: Humphreys says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating what caused the system to be activated.