Winnipeg, MB – At 12:41 a.m. on Thursday, December 24, 2020, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) responded to reports of a smell of gas in a four-storey apartment building in the 200 block of Fairhaven Road.
When crews arrived on scene, they used monitors inside the building and confirmed the presence of carbon monoxide, with readings between 70-90 parts per million (ppm) at various locations in the building.
All occupants of the building were immediately evacuated. The WFPS Mass Incident Response Vehicle (MIRV) and Winnipeg Transit buses were deployed to the scene to provide shelter for residents. Three individuals were assessed by on-scene paramedics but did not require transport to hospital.
Manitoba Hydro responded to assess and repair the problem. It is believed the cause of the build-up was due to snow blocking the rooftop gas-fired furnace. WFPS crews ventilated the building and residents were able to return to their suites once it was deemed safe.
WFPS reminds residents about the extreme danger of carbon monoxide, which is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas produced by the combustion process. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are flu-like and include nausea, dizziness, confusion, vision and hearing loss, but no fever. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Never idle vehicles in an attached garage, even if the door is open.
- Have fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces, and gas dryers cleaned and checked annually by a qualified service technician.
- Ensure all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents, and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint, and debris.
- Make sure wood stoves are properly installed and vented.
- Don’t operated gasoline-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecues or grills, or kerosene stoves, indoors or in enclosed spaces.
Residents are strongly encouraged to install a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of their home. If you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, exit immediately, and call 911.