State College, PA – Apartment tenants were reported safe Wednesday morning after high levels of carbon monoxide were found in their building.
The Alpha Fire Company was called out to a converted apartment building on 134 South Gill Street (near downtown State College) around 4:00a.m. on Wednesday.
Fire officials told WTAJ that the building had CO levels as high as 360 parts-per million. To give this number context, firefighters say 35 parts per million (of CO) causes a heightened level of concern.
A reading of 360ppm, officials say, is deadly within a few hours if undetected.
Residents quickly evacuated the building after waking up to the complex’s CO alarm. They then called 9-1-1, and Alpha firefighters arrived within minutes to wake up the rest of the tenants and clear-out the building.
Fire officials say it’s common to see an increase in these types of calls during the Fall, but add that there are ways to prevent them.
We’re moving into the time of year now where we’re going to start using our furnaces start using our fireplaces. It’s incredibly important to make sure the vent equipment is in proper working order to make sure all your equipment is inspected by licensed and certified professionals, said Rusty Schreiner, Assistant Chief for the Centre Region Council of Governments Fire Protection Program.
Shreiner added that the CO alarm likely saved lives Wednesday morning. He attributed the gas leak to an oil burner malfunction, caused by a plugged furnace nozzle.
Right now is when we’re getting a lot of these types of problems. Folks are firing their furnaces up for the first time maybe they haven’t gotten it inspected yet or just got it inspected right now’s a pretty busy time, said Wesley Fouse, Commercial Fire Inspector for the Centre Region Code Administration.
Fouse said that Centre Region inspectors have been out everyday this Fall testing CO alarms.