CO Alarm Alerts Residents of Langdon Street House
Madison firefighters were called to the 200 block of Langdon St. at 2:25 this afternoon after an alarm on the second floor sounded.
When Ladder Company 1 arrived on scene, they evacuated the remaining 3-4 occupants and traced the source of the CO to a commercial grade gas stove in the basement kitchen that had malfunctioned. The stove was not in use when the incident occurred.
Firefighters’ CO monitors registered 80 parts per million (ppm) on the 3rd floor of the house, and 110-120 ppm near the stove itself. An alarm in the basement was inoperable and did not sound.
Carbon Monoxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas, is a product of incomplete combustion of organic matter. For healthy adults CO becomes toxic when it reaches a level higher than 35 ppm with continuous exposure over an eight hour period. When the level of CO becomes higher than that, a person will suffer from symptoms of exposure. Mild exposure over 2-3 hours (a CO level between 35 ppm and 200 ppm) will produce flu-like symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes and a runny nose. Medium exposure (a CO level between 200 ppm to 800 ppm) will produce dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting in as little as 1 hour. This level of exposure is deemed to be life threatening once three hours has passed.
Firefighters shut off the gas to the stove and notified Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), who also responded to the scene. Ladder 1 and Engine 1 used a blower fan to ventilate the house. The stove was tagged and may not be used again until it is serviced.
Occupants reported no ill effects from the CO, and no one was transported to a hospital.
Wisconsin state law requires carbon monoxide alarms in all residences with fuel burning appliances, fireplaces, or attached garages.
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
- Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.