Carbon Monoxide Alarm Alerts Residents to Danger
At approximately 7:45 on the morning of Wednesday, March 22, 2023, a resident living at Citadel Meadow Point N.W. called 9-1-1 to report that her carbon monoxide (CO) alarm had activated. The building did not have CO alarms connected to an alarm system and thus awareness of the danger was left to individual residents that had their own CO alarms. Upon arrival, fire crews found readings as high as 500 parts per million (ppm) in the building. Approximately 50 residents were evacuated and a Calgary Transit bus was brought to the location to shelter the evacuees. EMS and ATCO Gas were also called to the scene to assist.
A thorough search of the interior and exterior of the building by fire crews found that the cause of the CO build-up was due to a blocked fresh air intake. The building is undergoing some construction and there was a partial blockage that lead to the dangerous build up of CO. No injuries were reported as a result of this incident and residents were allowed back in once firefighters had ventilated the building bringing levels down.
Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that you cannot see, smell or taste and thus is called the silent killer. Working CO alarms provide the only warning of dangerous CO gases in your home. Most commonly, the main source of CO gas in your home is your furnace, but CO can come from any natural gas burning household appliances, wood burning fireplaces or vehicles left running/idling in an attached garage. CO can also build up if vents, fresh air intakes or exhaust pipes are blocked. Blockages can be from snow, ice, debris or animal or bird nests.
A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter time frame. If you are exposed to CO gas, you may get flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as become confused, tired and lose consciousness. If you or anyone near you experiences the symptoms of CO poisoning or your CO alarm activates, you should leave your residence or building and call 9-1-1. Do not go back inside until the Fire Department tells you it is safe to do so.