Cornwall tenants poisoned by carbon monoxide

An ambulance heads from a Louisa Street apartment complex on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 after several tenants suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Cornwall Fire Platoon Chief Pierre Baril says a guest at the building found one of the tenants was partially overcome by the colourless, odourless gas. Two people were hospitalized. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Two tenants of a Louisa Street apartment complex have been hospitalized after suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

City firefighters were called to a five-plex at 231-233 Louisa Street around 9:15 a.m. this morning (Wednesday).

“We have several residents that exhibit carbon monoxide poisoning,” Platoon Chief Pierre Baril told Cornwall Newswatch. “A grandmother and grandchild have presently been transported to the McConnell (hospital) site for treatment.”

A second tenant and a guest, who discovered the poisoning, were also being assessed by paramedics at the scene, Baril said.

“A friend came over to visit the grandmother and immediately got a headache. She believes that the grandmother was overcome somewhat and she called 911 immediately. She knew that there was something wrong,” Baril told CNW.

The platoon chief said the unit did have a carbon monoxide detector but, for some reason, it didn’t go off.

“There are also several infractions throughout the (five-plex) unit with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors missing, so it’s important that people remember that it’s now a city bylaw and that if you are burning a fossil fuel, carbon monoxide detectors are required.”

Baril said the units were being heated with natural gas and their initial CO readings were 35 parts per million (ppm) when they entered the building.

According to carbon-moxocide-poisoning.com, the colourless, odourless gas – a by-product of burning fossil fuels – becomes toxic when it reaches a level higher than 35 ppm and an adult is exposed to it over an eight hour period.

Baril said they found several faulty heating units, plus there was a lack of maintenance. “The flue pipes are somewhat plugged which further enhanced the CO in the unit.”

The landlord, who is not from the area, has been contacted and is heading to Cornwall to meet with fire officials.

Baril said the situation could have been much worse, potentially deadly. “The time of day, the fact that person came over and discovered immediately … if this was at night the outcome could be very different.”

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