Fire officials stress importance of carbon monoxide detectors

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's expected to be business as usual Tuesday at SunTrust Mortgage, the scene of a carbon monoxide leak that sickened nearly a dozen people.

10 people went to the hospital including three with potentially serious breathing problems say Richmond Fire officials. It happened at the office building on Semmes Avenue and 12th Street. Fire officials say the incident serves as a reminder the importance of carbon monoxide detectors, especially in your home this time of year.

The temperature outside may not be right to fire up a furnace but experts say now is the time to make sure nothing's wrong with your home heating equipment. Nearly five hundred people die annually from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. In Richmond Monday, nearly a dozen people were sickened from the toxic gas.

"Carbon monoxide is odorless colorless gas that could be deadly to those individuals," said Richmond Fire Lt. Shawn Jones.

Jones says high winds may have played a role in pushing carbon monoxide from a generator into the SunTrust Mortgage ventilation system. The generator had kicked on after a power outage.

"Carbon monoxide is one of those things associated with generators and any fuel fired equipment," said Jones.

Jones says homeowners who have such equipment should also invest in carbon monoxide alarms.

"It could be a cheap life insurance policy," said Jones.

Carbon monoxide alarms range in price from $40 to $60 but experts warn you shouldn't rely solely on these to protect your family. First and foremost you should make sure your furnace is working properly.

"Some manufacturers may suggest putting them on each floor which we recommend if you have a fuel appliance and some may say to put in a place where you have the fuel fired equipment," said Jones.

Fire officials say they plan to return here to SunTrust Mortgage to talk to maintenance staff about the leak and carbon monoxide detectors.

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