updated 9/14/2011 3:51:21 PM ET 2011-09-14T19:51:21

Police say leaking carbon dioxide gas is to blame for the death of an 80-year-woman who passed out in a restroom at a McDonald's restaurant in southeast Georgia.

Pooler Police Chief Mark Revenew said Wednesday that investigators found carbon dioxide used to inject carbonation into the restaurant's soda fountain had been leaking between the walls and into the restroom, where two women were found unconscious Sept. 7.

The gas is normally harmless. But authorities say enough had escaped that it displaced air the women needed to breathe.

Several people at the restaurant needed medical treatment. One of them, Anne Felton of Ponte Vedra, Fla., later died at a hospital.

Revenew says owners of the restaurant west of Savannah replaced the gas lines and he does not expect to press charges.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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