Pierre, SD – A South Dakota Department of Transportation building in Pierre is evacuated Friday after employees inside become quickly ill.
Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul says Pierre Rescue and units from Battalion Two responded to an odor investigation call at the DOT Regional Office administration building on Garfield Avenue around 11:10 am.
We had a call regarding some folks who were experiencing some nausea and some other symptoms that can somewhat be related to carbon monoxide,” Paul said.”And it kinda hit them, suddenly.We showed up on scene and went inside with a carbon monoxide detector and did detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide within the building.The building was immediately evacuated and we were able to locate the source and shut down a boiler within the building that was creating the problem.
Paul says at least four DOT employees were impacted by the carbon monoxide.Unfortunately, some folks were exposed long enough to the carbon monoxide in this particular event where they did need to seek some medical attention,” Paul said. “Nobody was transported by ambulance but some folks were transported by vehicle, down to the hospital to seek further treatment with carbon monoxide, to get some oxygen.
Paul says the rapid onset of carbon monoxide poisoning can happen easily.
If you have something that is natural gas, propane or something that burns those types of fossil fuels, that’s what puts out carbon monoxide,” Paul said. “Typically as long as it’s exhausted properly, gets out of the building.That’s kinda how they’re designed to exit the building.In this particular, case they are still looking into the reasoning of it, but they did get it shut down, so, if there was a major failure, it wouldn’t take long for carbon monoxide to get into a building like this.
Paul says the incident is a good reminder to make sure you have a working C-O detector wherever you are.
We always encourage all organizations whether you’re commercial, residential, if you have any style of fossil fuel burning appliance, natural gas, propane, or even wood burning stoves, it’s always a good practice to have a carbon monoxide detector so you can catch those levels before they become elevated, Paul said.
Firefighters were on scene around 90 minutes with assistance from the South Dakota Highway Patrol and AMR Ambulance.