Carbon monoxide leak forces evacuation of 130 people from senior citizen apartments

UPDATE @ 11:35 a.m.:

Residents have been permitted to return to their apartments after the CO levels have returned to safe levels.

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Heat also has been restored to the apartments, however crews were still working to restore heat to the central hallways.

The CO detectors that alerted firefighters to the high levels started being used by the department at the end of December.

Firefighters said without those detectors, the situation at the apartment complex could have been much worse.


Firefighters responding to a resident who fell at a senior citizen apartment high rise on East High Street discovered high levels of carbon monoxide, forcing the evacuation of approximately 130 residents, according to the Springfield Fire Division.

The incident was reported at the Springfield Towers apartments around 7:10 a.m. in the 300 block of East High.

“All of our medic units have a little CO monitor,” explained Springfield Fire Assistant Chief Matthew Smith. “So they walked in and pinged. We started calling additional resources and we found high CO levels throughout the building.”

One person was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries believed to be a result of the high carbon monoxide levels, firefighters said.

"We're not expecting a huge influx of people, but we're prepared and we're waiting for updates," said Springfield Regional Hospital spokesperson Dave Lamb.

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City buses were brought to the apartment complex to assist with the evacuations of the residents.

“There's 300 people living here, we're still accounting for everybody at this time,” said Smith. “Somebody might not be in their apartment, but we're doing an apartment by apartment search and working our way down throughout the entire building.”

Firefighters said they were able to determine the building’s heating system is suspected of causing the issue, but they’re trying to isolate the exact cause.

“We have shut down all the heating system and that is dropping the levels,” Smith said. “We are still ventilating.”

It’s not clear how long residents will be evacuated from the building.

Columbia Gas was on the scene assisting with the incident.

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