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10 Injured In Eatery Gas Leak

Carbon Monoxide Plagues India Gate

Carbon monoxide poisoning at the India Gate Authentic Cuisine restaurant last night forced ten people to area hospitals, fire officials said.

Seven patrons and employees at the restaurant, located at 24 Holyoke St., were hospitalized for injuries ranging from lightheadedness to unconsciousness, said Deputy Chief Gerald Reardon of the Cambridge Fire Department.

In addition, three firefighters who had entered the building to assist the victims were sent for blood test, Reardon said.

Steven Bercu, a Harvard Law School Student, said he was in the restaurant when two patrons dropped to the floor.

"First two girls collapsed. Then, when the paramedics arrived to work on them, the maitre d' collapsed," Bercu said. "It was terrifying."

Cambridge firefighters arrived on the scene soon after receiving a call at 7:10 p.m., according to Reardon. They roped off the street in front of the restaurant and two adjacent buildings.

A man who would identify himself only as Howiesaid he was trying to fall asleep across thestreet from the building when the tumult woke himup.

"The door opened up and people were flowing outinto the street, dropping like flies. There wasone guy staggering down the street who wouldn'tget on a stretcher. He was in real bad shape,"Howie said.

Late last night, blood tests from the victimsand the firefighters confirmed that there was acarbon monoxide leak in the restaurant, saidActing Deputy Chief Bob Kotowski.

Commonwealth Gas Company, which inspected thebuilding last night, also confirmed that carbonmonoxide had poisoned the victims, Kotowski said.

He said the carbon monoxide produced by therestaurant's appliances were being sucked into thebuilding instead of out through a process callednegative air flow.

Kotowski said the three firefighters, who weresent to Mt. Auburn Hospital, were released lastnight.

Five of the civilians were sent to Mt. AuburnHospital, and the other two civilians were sent toCambridge Hospital, Kotowski said. Neitherhospital would release information about thepatients last night.

Public health inspectors are scheduled toexamine today if the carbon monoxide spoiled anyfood, Reardon said. He said he expects therestaurant to reopen for business in the nextcouple of days

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