Nearly 90 people, including children, have been hospitalized and treated for exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide at the Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga on Wednesday, according to officials.

According to Kaleida Health officials, 23 people are being treated at Oishei Children's Hospital, six at DeGraff Memorial, four at Buffalo General, three at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, and five at ECMC. Additionally, Catholic Health officials confirm that "about 50" people were treated at their facilities.

Cheektowaga police and the Forks Fire Department responded shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday for a report of a strange smell and children with carbon monoxide exposure symptoms. The fire department confirmed the presence of the gas and said the levels of carbon monoxide detected were extremely high. That's when fire officials made the call to evacuate the building. 

Fatal levels of carbon monoxide range from 150 to 200 ppm, Cheektowaga Town Council Member and Supervisor-Elect Brian Nowak said levels reached or exceeded 300 ppm Wednesday night.

According to a Facebook post from the facility, a heat exchanger in the lobby was not functioning correctly which caused the build up which police say must have been happening for "several days."

Parent and team manager Jay Calabrese said his team of 8-year-old hockey players were complaining of feeling tired and unwell during their 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. games Wednesday. Calabrese said the referee called the later game when players on the other team began vomiting.

"Obviously we're frustrated, right? Whether it be for yourself or especially your kids you're going to be concerned about any type of health scare with liability when someone else is at fault," Calabrese said. "I think it's too soon to really look at any further action. The first thing is, we just want to make sure everyone is OK."

He said all the players and parents he knows are home and well now. His team will continue to play at the rink as long as it is cleared for safety.

State and county officials have been informed of the situation. 

National Fuel, which provides utility service to the rinks, is investigating, and sent Spectrum News 1 a statement, saying:

"National Fuel was called to Holiday Twin Rinks after numerous complaints from guests about not feeling well. Upon investigation, we confirmed that the carbon monoxide levels were high and evacuation was necessary. The situation was quickly made safe and onsite technicians immediately began investigating the rink’s appliances to determine what caused the carbon monoxide build up. It was determined that an improperly working furnace in the snack bar area caused high levels of carbon monoxide to build up over the course of several days. This was not a gas leak, as reported, but a carbon monoxide build-up due to an improperly functioning piece of heating equipment."

National Fuel has since checked all gas lines and gave Holiday Rinks approval to re-open, but the facility in Cheektowaga won't reopen until the new year.
Holiday Twin Rinks on Broadway released a statement on Saturday after Wednesday night's incident: