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Russellville Drive-In owner responds to unfounded allegations

A Russellville restaurant owner reached out to ABC 17 News Friday after he said allegations against his restaurant are unfounded and wrong.

Last weekend, four employees were taken to the hospital for a mystery illness that has never been proven to be anything.

The fire department in Russellville told Russellville Drive-In owner Kevin Grace they measured carbon monoxide at 6 parts per million, and that is what likely made some of his employees feel ill last weekend.

ABC 17 News spoke to a fire marhsal in another city Friday night, however, and he said most of their CO detectors don’t even measure the gas until it hits 50 or 60 ppm, about 10 times more than what was measured at the restaurant.

To put that into perspective, detectors and alarms ABC 17 found don’t even sound for 45 minutes until they’ve measured more than 300 parts per million, so a measure of 6 is almost non-existent.

ABC 17 News also watched video of the minutes leading up to the ambulance arriving at the restaurant, and surprisingly all of the employees seemed fine. One of their mothers was there sitting in a booth for nearly an hour, and the cook who apparently had the worst symptoms wasn’t even in the building for nearly 45 minutes. He was out behind the restaurant according to Grace and his video. Grace said he believes it is odd the two employees who had the most symptoms also happened to be dating.

To top things off, Grace wasn’t alerted to a possible problem until the ambulance was already there.

ABC 17 asked Grace if he was called or sent a text message by any of the 4 employees since all of them have cell phones to call at any point in time.

“I’ve honestly never had a problem with any of them. They’ve all worked any other time,” said Grace.

Grace told ABC 17 News the true story needs to come out because it’s hurting his business.

He said nothing was ever proven to be medically wrong with the employees, and despite some food preparation and sanitation violations after a health department inspection, nothing was proven to be mechanically wrong in the building.

The violations were addressed and the drive-in opened back up on Thursday.

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