Dry ice is being blamed for the death of one woman and the injury of another early Friday morning. The accident took place just outside of Tacoma and was likely caused by carbon dioxide fumes released by dry ice.
Washington State authorities reported that two women were found unconscious in a car parked down the street from their Tacoma home. Carbon dioxide fumes from dry ice stored in a number of coolers likely leaked out and suffocated the two women. The older of the two women died of asphyxiation, while her companion was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
“His mom and his wife got in the vehicle to give his mother a ride home,” said Detective Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. “Somehow or another, the fumes escaped from the coolers.”
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The man who found the two women was the son of the deceased woman and husband to the second woman. It was also his vehicle in which the women were discovered. Employed as an ice cream salesmen, the man kept coolers of dry ice in his car and his wife had borrowed the vehicle in order to bring her mother-in-law home for the evening.
Typically, dry ice fumes are not deadly. The circumstances of this situation, however, produced this terrible accident.
“Possibly because it was so hot outside and because he had a newer car,” said Detective Troyer. “It probably had better sealing and less ventilation. It was a combination of things that went terribly wrong.”
People who handle dry ice are advised to take caution that they properly store it in a well-ventilated space.
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