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CO Leak At The Dream Underscores Importance of Detectors


February 7, 2019

A carbon monoxide detector monitors your home and alerts you to any presence of deadly CO.

A carbon monoxide leak at The Dream restaurant in Hollidaysburg on Saturday, Feb. 2, forced the evacuation of customers.

According to reports, a carbon monoxide detector in the kitchen area began showing high levels of CO and when the detector was taken into the dining area, it still showed a high level of the gas.

The building was evacuated and the Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene, confirming the presence of a high level of CO.

A malfunction in the hot water boiler heating system was determined to be the cause.

No injuries were reported and the restaurant remained closed the rest of the day but reopened on Sunday.

The CO leak at The Dream serves as a reminder of how quickly the gas can fill a building, and without the presence of a CO detector, can go unnoticed until it is too late, officials say.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can cause sickness and death for those exposed to it at high levels.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2010 and 2015, a total of 2,244 deaths nationwide were the result of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, with the highest number of deaths each year occurring in the winter months when furnaces are being used the most.

Martinsburg Volunteer Fire Department Chief Randy Acker said that symptoms of CO poisoning usually include a headache and upset stomach.

Acker said that since carbon monoxide can't be detected by sight or smell, it is important for every home to have a good carbon monoxide detector.

"You can't smell it, you can't see it and you can't taste it," he said. "A detector will alert you to any presence of CO."

Acker said having a detector is most important at night because if there is a leak in your house and you are sleeping, you would never know it.

"In the daytime, you are up and doing things so if you get a headache or upset stomach you could maybe put the symptoms to the cause," he said. "But at night, you would sleep right through it and possibly not wake up."

Acker recommends placing a CO detector on each floor of the house, especially near the bedrooms.

"I tell people to put a detector near their bedrooms because if you are sleeping, you won't be aware of anything. A detector is watching over you at night," he said.

Acker said it is important to maintain your CO detector and to know exactly what kind you have.

"I've been called to houses for a suspected CO leak only to discover that the battery was going dead or that the detector had reached the end of its effective life span," he said.

Acker said it comes down to a consumer doing research when buying a CO detector.

"You want to know it, and take care of it because it is an important item that could save your life," he said.

Acker said if you suspect you have a carbon monoxide leak, you should immediately leave your house and call 9-1-1 to have the fire department come and check on it. What he doesn't want you to do is open any doors or windows before you leave.

"We don't want people to open doors or windows because then the CO disperses and we can't track where it's coming from," he said. "Then we have to close them and wait for the CO to build up, because as we go in we are going to get a reading and as we get closer to the source we are going to get a higher reading, and we know we are getting closer to whatever is malfunctioning."

Acker said CO detectors should be as common in homes as smoke detectors, and that the extra cost should never be a deterrent.

"A CO detector may cost a little more money, but isn't your life worth spending a bit more money on?" he asked.


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