Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent threat. It is one that 50 Lancaster City residents learned late Saturday night, as city firefighters responded to the Church Street Towers for a CO scare. At least three people were transported to the hospital for symptoms relating to CO poisoning.
What are the symptoms?
Carmon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas so knowing the symptoms is vital, especially if you use natural gas in the home. The symptoms resemble those of the flu. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), they are:
- Chest Pain
WGAL-TV reported that levels on first and second floor of the eight story apartment building were 300 when firefighters first arrived late Saturday night. The furnace was shut down and residents returned to their apartments.
Church Street Towers, located at 333 Church Street, is owned by the Lancaster City Housing Authority. According to the LCHA website, the 100 unit apartment building, built in 1968, houses primarily elderly, disabled and handicapped singles and couples.
CO, according to the Pennsylvania Safe Homes Coalition, is the leading cause for accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. In Pennsylvania, every newly constructed one or two family home or townhouse not more than three floors, is required by law to install a CO detector near the bedrooms. That law went into effect 1 January 2010.
How can YOU prevent CO poisoning?
- Get a carbon monoxide detector
- Clean your chimney
- Have your heating system professionally serviced
- Have your water heater serviced if it gas heated
- Never patch or cover vents
- If you smell gas, get out and call your gas company from your cell phone or a neighbor’s house.
Carbon monoxide detectors are relatively inexpensive. Homeowners in Lancaster can turn to the Lancaster Fire Department. According to their website, the fire department “will provide and install detectors free of charge, if available, to owner occupied residences.” Locally, they can be purchased at Brubaker Inc, located at 1284 Rohrerstown Road. They are also available at the national chain box stores: Lowe’s (Manheim Township near the Costco’s off of Greenfield Road), Home Depot (located at the Red Rose Shopping Center on Fruitville Pike in Manheim Township), and Walmart (there are two stores locally).
If you smell gas, or suspect a gas leak, customers of UGI Gas Service should call 800-276-2722. Customers of UGI Central Penn Gas should call 800-652-0550.
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