If you’ve ever bought an ice cream treat from an ice cream truck or one of those push carts, then your ice cream was likely kept cold by dry ice. Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. It has a number of uses, mostly keeping food and biological samples and organs cold when machine refrigeration is not available. Dry ice is also used in fog machines in clubs and haunted house attractions. Aside from direct contact with bare flesh, dry ice rarely presents any danger. However, dry ice in a small, enclosed space can be deadly. WSB Radio reports on a case where a man’s wife was injured and his mother killed by dry ice in an accident.
An unnamed man from Lakewood, Washington, who delivers ice cream using dry ice to keep it cold, lost his mother and found his wife seriously injured after an accident.
Last Thursday evening, he had left some of that dry ice in the back seat of his car. His wife and mother then used the car to run an errand.
When he awoke early Friday, he found that his wife and his mother had not yet returned home. A search discovered them a few blocks away.
He broke out a window in the car after finding both his wife and his mother unconscious. After pulling his wife from the vehicle, he then dialed 911.
His mother, who was 77, was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, who is 51, was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Dry ice turns into a gas when exposed to open air. In small, unventilated spaces such as a vehicle, it can cause difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and eventually, death.
At this point, police are treating the incident as an accident.
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