Nine at Minn. Sorority House Treated for CO Inhalation

Nine at Minn. Sorority House Treated for CO Inhalation

News Feb 08, 2013

Feb. 08--Elevated carbon monoxide levels at a St. Cloud State University sorority house sent nine people to the hospital early Wednesday.

The house at 611 Eighth Ave. S had to be evacuated until the source of the problem was fixed. The people in the house at the time were treated and released from the hospital.

Police and firefighters were called after a doctor at St. Cloud Hospital detected elevated carbon monoxide levels in a tenant who went to the emergency room, said St. Cloud Police Sgt. Jason Burke. Rescuers went to the house about 1 a.m. Wednesday and found carbon monoxide levels that could have been dangerous with long enough exposure, said Mike Post, St. Cloud's fire marshal.

The fire department was called to the same house about a week earlier for a report of a gas smell but were unable to find anything, Post said. When firefighters went there Wednesday, they found carbon monoxide levels at 190 parts per million, Post said.

"That's enough to cause flu-like symptoms," he said.

One suspected cause was a clogged vent line in a water heater, Post said, and the owner of the house replaced the water heater Thursday. The tenants have returned to the house, and the owner added more carbon monoxide detectors and replaced batteries in some that weren't functioning properly, Post said.

Post encouraged people with carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to test them, know how long they are made to last and change batteries often.

"This could have been a potentially dangerous situation," Post said.

Copyright 2013 - St. Cloud Times, Minn.

St. Cloud Times, Minn.
David Unze
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