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Malfunctioning Heater Causes CO Leak

posted Feb 16, 2014, 9:04 AM by Jeffrey Sands, Assistant Chief 7-8B   [ updated Feb 18, 2014, 6:11 AM by Charles Mitchell ]
On the evening of 2/15/14, Stations 7, 8, 9 and 10 were dispatched to the 100 block of Madison Drive for a residential fire alarm.  Shortly after dispatch the incident was upgraded to a structural response when a neighbor reported a burning odor adding Christiana Fire Company (3, 6, and 12), and Singerly Fire Company (Cecil County Stations 3, 13, and 14).  Engine 9-5 arrived on scene and investigated a burning odor believed to have been from a heater backfire.  Deputy 9 arrived on scene and established Madison Drive command, directing units to check the exposure apartments.  In the process of checking the exposures, SQURT 7's crew made entry into an unoccupied apartment undergoing renovations and found dangerously high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) with levels in excess of 30 ppm upstairs and 45 ppm in the basement.  Crews found readings of 200 ppm emanating from the heater in the basement.  The heater as well as other utilities were secured and the building was ventilated until there were zero readings throughout.  Had it not been for a call from a concerned neighbor, crews may never have found this malfunctioning heater which had the potential to cause harm to anyone that entered the apartment as well as to the neighbors.   Crews operated on scene for an hour before being released.

Units on Scene: Deputy 9, 9-5, S-7, 8-2, 10-5, 12-4, 3-6, A-10, and Newark Police.

Story by Captain Jeff Sands