Three Become Ill From Carbon Monoxide Leak

Incident Type
Carbon Monoxide
Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 12:28pm
Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 12:35pm
2100 Block University Avenue
Madison, WI

Occupants of a University Avenue apartment complex took refuge in a neighbor’s apartment Thursday after becoming ill from a suspected carbon monoxide leak in their own.

Engine Company 4 and Medic 4, along with MGE, responded to the Oak Tree Apartments when all three women living in the same apartment reported feeling sick and having fainted at one point. Engine 4 detected carbon monoxide readings in their apartment at 88 parts per million. Property managers were available to assist in shutting off the furnace, the only gas-operated appliance in the unit. Firefighters retrieved an electric fan to ventilate the unit as they explored adjacent apartments to see whether carbon monoxide was affecting others.

Elevated carbon monoxide levels were found in some surrounding apartments. Upon further investigation, firefighters learned that the exhaust and intake vents for the furnace were located just 12 inches apart from one another. Under normal circumstances, this may not be an issue; however, with plenty of frost and ice built up around the pipes in the record-breaking low temperatures, and a slight breeze coming in at just the right direction, crews surmised this might be why carbon monoxide was circulating among multiple units in the building.

Property management worked with MGE to resolve the issue. The occupants who reported feeling ill earlier were feeling better and did not seek further medical care.

Posted 02/01/2019 - 7:19am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)